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Brain Res. 1991 Jan 4;538(1):64-75.

Evidence that spinal 5-HT1, 5-HT2 and 5-HT3 receptor subtypes modulate responses to noxious colorectal distension in the rat.

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Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242.


This study examined whether the antinociception produced following the intrathecal (i.t.) administration of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) and other 5-HT receptor agonists in a model of visceral pain that utilizes colorectal distension (CRD) as the noxious visceral stimulus is mediated through interaction with spinal 5-HT1, 5-HT2, or 5-HT3 receptor subtypes. CRD in conscious rats reliably elicits two pseudaffective reflexes: a vigorous pressor response and a visceromotor response. Antinociception is characterized by inhibition of both pseudaffective responses. The effects of 5-HT receptor agonists and antagonists on resting blood pressure were also examined. The i.t. administration of 5-HT resulted in a dose-dependent elevation of the visceromotor threshold and inhibition of the pressor response to CRD. The 5-HT1A receptor agonist 8-OH-DPAT, the 5-HT1B receptor agonist RU-24969, the 5-HT2 receptor agonists DOI, MK-212 and alpha-methyl-5-HT and the 5-HT3 agonist 2-methyl-5-HT all dose-dependently inhibited the pressor response and dose-dependently elevated the visceromotor threshold to noxious CRD. The rank order of potency of these agonists was the same for both pseudaffective responses to CRD: DOI greater than or equal to 8-OH-DPAT greater than or equal to MK-212 = RU-24969 greater than or equal to alpha-methyl-5-HT = 2-methyl-5-HT much greater than 5-HT. The antinociceptive effects of 5-HT, RU-24969, alpha-methyl-5-HT and DOI were antagonized by i.t. pretreatment with methysergide. Intrathecal pretreatment with ketanserin antagonized the antinociceptive effects of MK-212 and MDL-72222 antagonized the effects produced by 2-methyl-5-HT in response to CRD. The antinociceptive effects produced by 8-OH-DPAT were not antagonized by i.t. pretreatment with methysergide. These results demonstrate that 5-HT1, 5-HT2 and 5-HT3 receptors in the spinal cord mediate antinociception in response to noxious CRD in conscious rats.

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