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Pharmacol Res. 2004 Sep;50(3):351-8.

Prochlorperazine induces central antinociception mediated by the muscarinic system.

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  • 1Department of Preclinical and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Florence, Viale G. Pieraccini 6, I-50139 Florence, Italy.


The antinociceptive effect of the D(2) antagonist prochlorperazine was examined in the mouse hot-plate and abdominal constriction tests. Prochlorperazine (1-2 mg kg(-1) s.c./i.p.) produced an increase of the pain threshold in the mouse hot-plate test. The antinociception produced by prochlorperazine was prevented by the D(2) selective agonist quinpirole, the unselective muscarinic antagonist atropine, the M(1) selective antagonist pirenzepine, and by the choline uptake inhibitor hemicholinium-3 hydrobromide (HC-3). Moreover, prochlorperazine antinociception was abolished by pretreatment with an aODN against the M(1) receptor subtype, administered at the dose of 2 nmol per single i.c.v. injection. By contrast the analgesic effect of prochlorperazine was not prevented by the opioid antagonist naloxone and the GABA(B) antagonist CGP-35348. Prochlorperazine also elicited a dose-dependent increase in ACh release from rat cerebral cortex. In the antinociceptive dose-range, prochlorperazine did not impair mouse performance evaluated by the rota-rod and hole-board tests. On the basis of the above data, it can be postulated that prochlorperazine exerted an antinociceptive effect mediated by a central cholinergic mechanism.

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