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Pain. 1992 Nov;51(2):135-43.

Demonstration of dynorphin A 1-8 immunoreactive axons contacting spinal cord projection neurons in a rat model of peripheral inflammation and hyperalgesia.

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Neurobiology and Anesthesiology Branch, National Institute of Dental Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Using a double-labeling technique, we evaluated the input of afferents immunoreactive for dynorphin peptide onto a population of lumbar spinal neurons contributing to the spinoparabrachial tract in rats with 1 inflamed hind paw. We found that the frequency and distribution with which dynorphin immunoreactive varicosities were in apposition to projection neurons varied according to neuron location. In particular, neurons in the superficial dorsal horn and neck of the dorsal horn receive a high degree of dynorphin input. We also determine that unilateral peripheral inflammation is associated with both an increase in the number of projection neurons receiving detectable DYN input and in the frequency of this input onto a given neuron, with the largest increase seen in the superficial dorsal horn. Since almost all superficial dorsal horn neurons contributing to the spinoparabrachial tract respond either exclusively or maximally to noxious stimulation, our data supports dynorphin's involvement in nociception.

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