Original Articles

Involvement of NMDA and non-NMDA receptors in transmission of spinal visceral nociception in cat

Xue-jun Song, Zhi-Qi Zhao


To study the role of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) and non-NMDA receptors in processing nociceptive visceral information in the spinal cord.
The firing of spinal dorsal horn neurons to colorectal distension (3-15 kPa, 20 s) by inflation with air of latex balloon was recorded in 25 anesthetized cats.
1) According to the patterns of responses to colorectal distension, the neurons with increase and decrease in firing were classified as excitatory and inhibitory, respectively. The former consisted of 17 short-latency abrupt (SLA) neurons, 11 short-latency sustained (SLS) neurons, 9 long-latency (LL) neurons. The 15 inhibited (Inh) neurons were recorded. 2) Microelectrophoretic administration of NMDA, quisqualic acid (QA), and kainic acid (KA) activated 67.6%, 78.4%, and 59.5% of the colorectal distension-excited neurons tested. Also, 60%, 86.7%, and 53.3% of Inh neurons were activated by these 3 amino acids. 3) Colorectal distension-induced excitatory responses were reduced by 35% +/- 10% and 65% +/- 14% by a selective NMDA receptor antagonist d,l-2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (APV) and a selective non-NMDA receptor antagonist 6,7-dinitro-quinoxaline-2,3-dione (DNQX), respectively. Such DNQX-induced inhibition was significantly more potent than that by APV (P < 0.05). Colorectal distension-induced inhibitory responses were partially relieved by 30%-50% in 3/7 Inh neurons by DNQX, but not APV.
Both NMDA and non-NMDA receptors are involved in transmission and/or modulation of spinal visceral nociceptive information and non-NMDA receptors may play more important role than NMDA receptors.

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