A recent review calls attention to the discrepant results resulting from studies that have examined the nociceptive or antinociceptive properties of orphanin-FQ/nociceptin (Phe-Gly-Gly-Phe-Thr-Gly-Ala-Arg-Lys-Ser-Ala-Arg-Lys- Leu-Ala-Asn-Gln; OFQ/N), the heptadecapeptide isolated from rat (nociceptin) and pig (orphanin FQ) brain that binds with high affinity to the opioid 'orphan' receptor (a seven transmembrane protein with sequence homology to opioid receptors), but exhibits only low affinity binding with conventional opioid ligands. Some of the discrepancy might result from differences in species, test, route of administration or time-course. We undertook a comprehensive examination of the effects of spinal (i.t.) or supraspinal (i.c.v.) administration of OFQ/N in mice and rats. Mice treated with OFQ/N either i.t. or i.c.v. demonstrated no significant nociceptive effect in the hot plate, warm-water or radiant heat tail-flick tests (except for the highest and most sedative dose of 10 nmol i.c.v. in the mouse warm-water tail-flick test). Pretreatment with the opioid antagonist naloxone or with peptidase inhibitors did not enhance the nociceptive effects of OFQ/N peptide in the warm-water tail-flick test. The motor activity in mice administered OFQ/N i.c.v. decreased significantly compared to controls. Rats administered i.c.v. or i.t. OFQ/N displayed no significant difference from vehicle- treated animals in similar noxious stimulus tests and OFQ/N-treated rats did not exhibit allodynia in a paw-withdrawal test. Overall, OFQ/N was ineffective in significantly altering response to noxious stimuli, regardless of whether the peptide was given at supraspinal or spinal sites in mice or in rats. In addition, i.c.v. or i.t. application of antisense or mismatch ODN to the orphan receptor did not modify tail-flick latency in either mice or rats, arguing against a tonic nociceptive tone mediated via the OFQ/N receptor.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine