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Brain Res. 2008 Jul 24;1221:6-13. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2008.05.013. Epub 2008 May 17.

Nociceptive inhibition prevents inflammatory pain induced changes in the blood-brain barrier.

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Department of Medical Pharmacology, College of Medicine, The University of Arizona, 1501 N Campbell Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85745, USA.


Previous studies by our group have shown that peripheral inflammatory insult, using the lambda-carrageenan inflammatory pain (CIP) model, induced alterations in the molecular and functional properties of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The question remained whether these changes were mediated via an inflammatory and/or neuronal mechanism. In this study, we investigated the involvement of neuronal input from pain activity on alterations in BBB integrity by peripheral inhibition of nociceptive input. A perineural injection of 0.75% bupivacaine into the right hind leg prior to CIP was used for peripheral nerve block. Upon nerve block, there was a significant decrease in thermal allodynia induced by CIP, but no effect on edema formation 1 h post-CIP. BBB permeability was increased 1 h post-CIP treatment as determined by in situ brain perfusion of [(14)C] sucrose; bupivacaine nerve block of CIP caused an attenuation of [(14)C] sucrose permeability, back to saline control levels. Paralleling the changes in [(14)C] sucrose permeability, we also report increased expression of three tight junction (TJ) proteins, zonula occluden-1 (ZO-1), occludin and claudin-5 with CIP. Upon bupivacaine nerve block, changes in expression were prevented. These data show that the lambda-carrageenan-induced changes in [(14)C] sucrose permeability and protein expression of ZO-1, occludin and claudin-5 are prevented with inhibition of nociceptive input. Therefore, we suggest that nociceptive signaling is in part responsible for the alteration in BBB integrity under CIP.

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