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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jul;295(1):E117-29. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.90243.2008. Epub 2008 May 13.

Orexin-A modulates glutamatergic NMDA-dependent spinal reflex potentiation via inhibition of NR2B subunit.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Chung-Shan Medical University Hospital, 110, Chang-Kuo North Rd., Section 1, Taichung, Taiwan .


Glucose-sensitive neurons in the lateral hypothalamic area produce orexin-A (OxA) as well as orexin-B (OxB) and send their axons to the spinal dorsal horn, which predominantly expresses orexin receptor-1 (OX-1), showing a higher sensitivity to OxA. The purpose of the present study was to assess the effects of OxA on the induction of a novel form of activity-dependent reflex potentiation, spinal reflex potentiation (SRP), in the pelvic-urethral reflex activity. External urethra sphincter electromyogram in response to pelvic afferent nerve test stimulation (TS; 1/30 Hz) or repetitive stimulation (RS; 1 Hz) was recorded in anesthetized rats. TS evoked a baseline reflex activity, whereas RS produced SRP, which was abolished by intrathecal OxA (30 nM, 10 mul). Intrathecal SB-408124 (10 muM, 10 mul), an OX-1 antagonist, reversed the abolition on SRP caused by OxA. Although there is, so far, no NR2A- and NR2B-specific agonist available, N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) reversed the abolition on the RS-induced SRP caused by the co-administration of OxA and Co-101244 (30 nM, 10 mul; an NMDA NR2B subunit antagonist), but it did not reverse the abolition by the co-administration of OxA and PPPA (300 nM, 10 mul; an NMDA NR2A subunit antagonist). In conclusion, the activation of descending orexinergic fibers may inhibit the repetitive afferent input-induced central sensitization of pelvic-urethral reflex activity and urethra hyperactivity, indicating that spinal orexinergic neural transmission may be a novel target for the treatment of patients with neuropathetic or postinflammatory pain of pelvic origin.

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