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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2004 Jun 18;125(1-2):113-9.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increase expression of inducible COX-2 isoform of cyclooxygenase in spinal cord of rats with adjuvant induced inflammation.

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Department of life Science, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan.


Several lines of evidence have accumulated that release of excitatory amino acids, nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) play a critical role in the development of peripheral tactile and thermal hypersensitivity in chronic inflammatory pain models. Synthesis of PGE2 is controlled by cyclooxygenase (COX), either the COX-1 or COX-2 isoform. COX-2 plays a central role in the inflammatory reactions. The relationship between central sensitization of a complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) induced inflammation and expressions of COX-2 were assessed in a rat model of CFA injection induced inflammation. Moreover, the time course of analgesia and spinal COX-2 expression following intrathecal (IT) injection with a nonspecific COX inhibitor (ketorolac) and COX-2 inhibitor (celecoxib) were determined using Western blot and immunohistochemistry. COX-2 protein was slightly increased in the lumbosacral spinal cord at 24 h following subcutaneous injection of CFA in the plantar surface of the left hindpaw (p > 0.05). COX-1 was not detected in normal and CFA injection rats. Surprisingly, IT ketorolac or celecoxib significantly increased spinal COX-2 levels at 1 h post-IT injection (p < 0.05) both in inflamed and non-inflamed rats. Then, spinal COX-2 levels declined at 3 and 6 h post-IT injection. These results provide strong in vivo evidence that COX-2 activity but not level may play a central role in the Freund's adjuvant-induced inflammation. However, spinal COX-2 level was upregulated following IT ketorolac and celecoxib injection. These data implies that suppression of PGE2 activity may induce the expression of spinal COX-2 in Freund's adjuvant-induced pain model. Our study concludes that IT administration of COX-2 inhibitor or nonspecific COX inhibitor is associated with significant short-term increase in spinal COX-2 expression.

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