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Neuropharmacology. 1996 Jan;35(1):99-110.

Activation of 5-HT2A receptors potentiates pain produced by inflammatory mediators.

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Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Previous results from our laboratory indicate that serotonin (5-HT) potentiates pain produced by other inflammatory mediators. To characterize the receptor subtype(s) mediating this synergistic effect of 5-HT, selective 5-HT agonists were injected, alone or with noradrenaline (NA) or prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), into the plantar surface of the paws of rats. The behavioural response (favouring, elevation and licking the paw) was recorded using the rating scale developed to quantify formalin-induced pain. The 5-HT1A and 5-HT3 agonists, 8-OH-DPAT and 2-methyl-5-HT, respectively, produced only transient responses by themselves and did not interact with PGE2 or NA. The 5-HT2 agonists, alpha-methyl-5-HT and DOI, also produced transient responses alone, but induced lifting and licking of the injected paw lasting more than 30 min when combined with PGE2 or NA. The lifting and licking response produced by 5-HT plus PGE2 was not altered by intraplantar pretreatment with the 5-HT1A and 5-HT3 antagonists, BMY 7378 and tropisetron, but was attenuated by the 5-HT2A/2C antagonist ketanserin. The pain response produced by alpha-methyl-5-HT plus PGE2 was blocked by pretreatment with the 5-HT2A/2C antagonists ketanserin and ritanserin, and the 5-HT2A antagonist spiperone (MPE50 values 1.4, 7.7 and 0.06 nmol, respectively). The second phase of the response to intraplantar formalin was also attenuated by ketanserin, ritanserin and spiperone (MPE50 values 11.3, 21.8 and 0.23 nmol, respectively). These data imply that 5-HT2A antagonists may be effective peripherally acting analgesics or analgesic adjuncts in pain associated with 5-HT release from platelets, such acute injury and, perhaps, some chronic pain states.

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