Descending facilitatory pathways from the rostroventromedial medulla mediate naloxone-precipitated withdrawal in morphine-dependent rats

Louis P. Vera-Portocarrero, Michael H. Ossipov, Josephine Lai, Tamara King, Frank Porreca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Opioids produce analgesic effects, and extended use can produce physical dependence in both humans and animals. Dependence to opiates can be demonstrated by either termination of drug administration or through precipitation of the withdrawal syndrome by opiate antagonists. Key features of the opiate withdrawal syndrome include hyperalgesia, anxiety, and autonomic signs such as diarrhea. The rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) plays an important role in the modulation of pain and for this reason, may influence withdrawal-induced hyperalgesia. The mechanisms that drive opiate withdrawal-induced hyperalgesia have not been elucidated. Here, rats made dependent upon morphine received naloxone to precipitate withdrawal. RVM microinjection of lidocaine, kynurenic acid (excitatory amino acid antagonist) or YM022 (CCK2 receptor antagonist) blocked withdrawal-induced hyperalgesia. Additionally, these treatments reduced both somatic and autonomic signs of naloxone-induced withdrawal. Spinal application of ondansetron, a 5HT3 receptor antagonist thought to ultimately be engaged by descending pain facilitatory drive, also blocked hyperalgesia and somatic and autonomic features of the withdrawal syndrome. These results indicate that the RVM plays a critical role in mediating components of opioid withdrawal that may contribute to opioid dependence. Perspective: Manipulations targeting these descending pathways from the RVM may diminish the consequences of prolonged opioid administration-induced dependence and be useful adjunct strategies in reducing the risk of opioid addiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-676
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pain
Volume12
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Naloxone-induced withdrawal
  • RVM
  • descending facilitation
  • hyperalgesia
  • morphine dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

Cite this