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Eur J Pain. 2017 Aug;21(7):1285-1294. doi: 10.1002/ejp.1029. Epub 2017 Mar 24.

Nucleus accumbens dopamine receptors mediate hypothalamus-induced antinociception in the rat formalin test.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Ramsar International Branch, Sari, Iran.
Neuroscience Research Center, School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



Lateral hypothalamus (LH) involves in modulation of tonic pain. Regarding the direct and indirect neural connections between the LH and nucleus accumbens (NAc), we aimed to examine the pain modulatory role of NAc dopamine receptors in modulation of LH-induced analgesia in the formalin test.


Vehicle-control groups received saline or DMSO into the NAc and saline into the LH. Carbachol-control groups received carbachol (250 nmol/L) into the LH, 5 min after saline or DMSO injection into the NAc. In treatment groups, intra-NAc administration of SCH-23390 or sulpiride (D1-and D2-like dopamine receptor antagonists, respectively) was performed 5 min before carbachol injection. Formalin test was done in all rats 5 min after the second injection.


The blockade of NAc dopamine receptors reduced carbachol-induced antinociception during both phases of formalin test and reduction in LH-induced analgesia during the late phase was more than that during the early phase. Furthermore, contribution of D2-like dopamine receptors to mediation of anti-hyperalgesic effect of carbachol was greater than that of D1-like dopamine receptors during the late phase.


The findings suggest that LH-VTA-NAc circuit is contributed to the modulation of formalin-induced pain. These findings demonstrate that transmission at D1- and D2-like dopamine receptors mediates the LH-induced analgesia.


Blockade of accumbal dopamine receptors attenuated analgesia induced by carbachol injection into the lateral hypothalamus during both phases of formalin test. Effect of blockade of D1- and D2-like dopamine receptors on reduction in antinociception was more during the late phase. Contribution of D2-like dopamine receptors to mediation of antinociception during the late phase was greater than the early phase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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