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Brain Res. 1994 Nov 21;664(1-2):17-24.

Illness-induced hyperalgesia is mediated by spinal neuropeptides and excitatory amino acids.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder 80309.


The spinal cord dorsal horn contains neural mechanisms which can greatly facilitate pain. We have recently shown that 'illness'-inducing agents, such as intraperitoneally administered lipopolysaccharide (LPS; bacterial endotoxin), can produce prolonged hyperalgesia. This hyperalgesic state is mediated at the level of the spinal cord via activation of the NMDA-nitric oxide cascade. However, prolonged neuronal depolarization is required before such a cascade can occur. The present series of experiments were aimed at identifying spinal neurotransmitters which might be responsible for creating such a depolarized state. These studies show that LPS hyperalgesia is mediated at the level of the spinal cord by substance P, cholecystokinin and excitatory amino acids acting at non-NMDA sites. No apparent role for serotonin or kappa opiate receptors was found.

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