Bv8 is a pronociceptive peptide that binds to two G-protein coupled prokineticin receptors, PK-R1 and PK-R2. These receptors are localized in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of nociceptive neurons in rodents. Systemic administration of Bv8 elicits a biphasic reduction in nociceptive thresholds to thermal and mechanical stimuli. Here, the possibility that Bv8 might directly modulate the expression and release of excitatory transmitters within the early and late phases of hyperalgesia was evaluated. Administration of Bv8 to mouse lumbar spinal cord sections produced a direct, significant and concentration-related release of CGRP. Bv8- or capsaicin-stimulated CGRP release was markedly enhanced in tissues taken from Bv8-pretreated mice during the late, but not the early, phase of hyperalgesia. Pretreatment of rats with protein synthesis inhibitors blocked the expression of the late, but not early, phase of Bv8-induced hyperalgesia. Finally, during the late-phase of hyperalgesia, there was an upregulation of CGRP and substance P immunoreactivity in the rat lumbar dorsal horn and DRG. Such upregulation was prevented by pretreatment with protein synthesis inhibitors. These data suggest that Bv8 induces hyperalgesia by direct release of excitatory transmitters in the spinal cord, consistent with the first phase of hyperalgesia. Additionally, Bv8 elicits a subsequent, protein-synthesis dependent increase in expression and release of excitatory transmitters that may underlie the long-lasting second phase of hyperalgesia. Activation of prokineticin receptors may therefore contribute to persistent hyperalgesia occurring as a consequence of tissue injury further suggesting that these receptors are attractive targets for development of therapeutics for pain treatment.
- Prokineticin receptors
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