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Brain Res. 2007 Mar 16;1137(1):69-77. Epub 2006 Dec 22.

GABA-mediated oxytocinergic inhibition in dorsal horn neurons by hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus stimulation.

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  • 1Departamento de Neurobiología del Desarrollo y Neurofisiología, Instituto de Neurobiología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Campus UNAM-Juriquilla, Querétaro, Mexico.


In anaesthetized rats, we tested whether the unit activity of dorsal horn neurons that receive nociceptive input is modulated by electrical stimulation of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN). An electrophysiological mapping of dorsal horn neurons at L3-L4 let us choose cells responding to a receptive field located in the toes region of the left hindpaw. Dorsal horn neurons were classified according to their response properties to peripheral stimulation. Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) cells responding to electrical stimulation of the peripheral receptive field and presenting synaptic input of Adelta, Abeta, and C-fibers were studied. Suspected interneurons that are typically silent and lack peripheral receptive field responses were also analyzed. PVN electrical stimulation inhibits Adelta (-55.0+/-10.2%), C-fiber (-73.1+/-6.7%), and post-discharge (-75.0+/-8.9%) peripheral activation in WDR cells, and silent interneurons were activated. So, this last type of interneuron was called a PVN-ON cell. In WDR cells, the inhibition of peripheral responses caused by PVN stimulation was blocked by intrathecal administration of a specific oxytocin antagonist or bicuculline. However, PVN-ON cell activation was blocked by the same specific oxytocin antagonist, but not by bicuculline. Our results suggest that PVN stimulation inhibits nociceptive peripheral-evoked responses in WDR neurons by a descending oxytocinergic pathway mediated by GABAergic PVN-ON cells. We discuss our observation that the PVN electrical stimulation selectively inhibits Adelta and C-fiber activity without affecting Abeta fibers. We conclude that Adelta and C-fibers receive a presynaptic inhibition mediated by GABA.

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