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Pain. 2004 Jul;110(1-2):236-45.

Evidence for an exclusive antinociceptive effect of nociceptin/orphanin FQ, an endogenous ligand for the ORL1 receptor, in two animal models of neuropathic pain.

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EMI 9904 INSERM/UdA, Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, 28 place Henri Dunant, BP 38, 63001 Clermont-Ferrand Cedex 1, France.


Nociceptin/orphanin FQ (noci/OFQ), the endogenous ligand for the orphan ORL1 (opioid receptor-like1), has been shown to be anti- or pronociceptive and modify morphine analgesia in rats after central administration. We comparatively examined the effect of noci/OFQ on hyperalgesia and morphine analgesia in two experimental models of neuropathic pain: diabetic (D) and mononeuropathic (MN) rats. Noci/OFQ, when intrathecally (i.t.) injected (0.1, 0.3, or 1, to 10 microg/rat) was ineffective in normal rats, but reduced and suppressed mechanical hyperalgesia (paw-pressure test) in D and MN rats, respectively. This spinal inhibitory effect was suppressed by naloxone (10 microg/rat, i.t.) in both models. Combinations of systemic morphine with spinal noci/OFQ resulted in a strong potentiation of analgesia in D rats. In MN rats, an isobolographic analysis showed that the morphine+noci/OFQ association (i.t.) suppressed mechanical hyperalgesia in a superadditive manner. In summary, the present findings reveal that spinal noci/OFQ produces a differential antinociception in diabetic and traumatic neuropathic pain according to the etiology of neuropathy, an effect possibly mediated by opioid receptors. Moreover, noci/OFQ combined with morphine produces antinociceptive synergy in experimental neuropathy, opening new opportunities in the treatment of neuropathic pain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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