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J Pharm Pharmacol. 2001 Oct;53(10):1419-26.

Rectal antinociceptive properties of alverine citrate are linked to antagonism at the 5-HT1A receptor subtype.

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Department of Pharmacology, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Toulouse, France.


Serotonin (5-HT) is considered as a major mediator causing hyperalgesia and is involved in inflammatory reactions and irritable bowel syndrome. Alverine citrate may possess visceral antinociceptive properties in a rat model of rectal distension-induced abdominal contractions. This study was designed to evaluate the pharmacological properties of alverine citrate in a rat model of rectal hyperalgesia induced by 5-HTP (5-HT precursor) and by a selective 5-HT1A agonist (8-OH-DPAT) and to compare this activity with a reference 5-HT1A antagonist (WAY 100635). At 4 h after their administration, 5-HTP and 8-OH-DPAT increased the number of abdominal contractions in response to rectal distension at the lowest volume of distension (0.4 mL). When injected intraperitoneally before 8-OH-DPAT and 5-HTP, WAY 100635 (1 mg kg(-1)) blocked their nociceptive effect, but also reduced the response to the highest volume of distension (1.6 mL). Similarly, when injected intraperitoneally, alverine citrate (20 mg kg(-1)) suppressed the effect of 5-HTP, but not that of 8-OH-DPAT. However, when injected intracerebroventricularly (75 microg/rat) alverine citrate reduced 8-OH-DPAT-induced enhancement of rectal distension-induced abdominal contractions. In-vitro binding studies revealed that alverine citrate had a high affinity for 5-HT1A receptors and a weak affinity for 5-HT3 and 5-HT4 subtypes. These results suggest that 5-HTP-induced rectal hypersensitivity involves 5-TH1A receptors and that alverine citrate acts as a selective antagonist at the 5-HT1A receptor subtype to block both 5-HTP and 8-OH-DPAT-induced rectal hypersensitivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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