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Anesthesiology. 2013 Mar;118(3):691-700. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e318280a60a.

σ1 receptors are involved in the visceral pain induced by intracolonic administration of capsaicin in mice.

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Department of Pharmacology and Institute of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.



Visceral pain is an important and prevalent clinical condition whose treatment is challenging. Sigma-1 (σ1) receptors modulate somatic pain, but their involvement in pure visceral pain is unexplored.


The authors evaluated the role of σ1 receptors in intracolonic capsaicin-induced visceral pain (pain-related behaviors and referred mechanical hyperalgesia to the abdominal wall) using wild-type (WT) (n = 12 per group) and σ1 receptor knockout (σ1-KO) (n = 10 per group) mice, selective σ1 receptor antagonists (BD-1063, S1RA, and NE-100), and control drugs (morphine and ketoprofen).


The intracolonic administration of capsaicin (0.01-1%) induced concentration-dependent visceral pain-related behaviors and referred hyperalgesia in both WT and σ1-KO mice. However, the maximum number of pain-related behaviors induced by 1% capsaicin in σ1-KO mice (mean ± SEM, 22 ± 2.9) was 48% of that observed in WT animals (46 ± 4.2). Subcutaneous administration of the σ1 receptor antagonists BD-1063 (16-64 mg/kg), S1RA (32-128 mg/kg), and NE-100 (8-64 mg/kg) dose-dependently reduced the number of behavioral responses (by 53, 62, and 58%, respectively) and reversed the referred hyperalgesia to mechanical control threshold (0.53 ± 0.05 g) in WT mice. In contrast, these drugs produced no change in σ1-KO mice. Thus, the effects of these drugs are specifically mediated by σ1 receptors. Morphine produced an inhibition of capsaicin-induced visceral pain in WT and σ1-KO mice, whereas ketoprofen had no effect in either mouse type.


These results suggest that σ1 receptors play a role in the mechanisms underlying capsaicin-induced visceral pain and raise novel perspectives for their potential therapeutic value.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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