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Mol Pain. 2010 Mar 2;6:13. doi: 10.1186/1744-8069-6-13.

Nitric oxide synthase modulates CFA-induced thermal hyperalgesia through cytokine regulation in mice.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Würzburg, Josef-Schneider-Str 11, 97080 Würzburg, Germany.



Although it has been largely demonstrated that nitric oxide synthase (NOS), a key enzyme for nitric oxide (NO) production, modulates inflammatory pain, the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects remain to be clarified. Here we asked whether cytokines, which have well-described roles in inflammatory pain, are downstream targets of NO in inflammatory pain and which of the isoforms of NOS are involved in this process.


Intraperitoneal (i.p.) pretreatment with 7-nitroindazole sodium salt (7-NINA, a selective neuronal NOS inhibitor), aminoguanidine hydrochloride (AG, a selective inducible NOS inhibitor), L-N(G)-nitroarginine methyl ester (L-NAME, a non-selective NOS inhibitor), but not L-N(5)-(1-iminoethyl)-ornithine (L-NIO, a selective endothelial NOS inhibitor), significantly attenuated thermal hyperalgesia induced by intraplantar ( injection of complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA). Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) revealed a significant increase of nNOS, iNOS, and eNOS gene expression, as well as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1beta), and interleukin-10 (IL-10) gene expression in plantar skin, following CFA. Pretreatment with the NOS inhibitors prevented the CFA-induced increase of the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF and IL-1beta. The increase of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 was augmented in mice pretreated with 7-NINA or L-NAME, but reduced in mice receiving AG or L-NIO. NNOS-, iNOS- or eNOS-knockout (KO) mice had lower gene expression of TNF, IL-1beta, and IL-10 following CFA, overall corroborating the inhibitor data.


These findings lead us to propose that inhibition of NOS modulates inflammatory thermal hyperalgesia by regulating cytokine expression.

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