Is substance P a primary afferent neurotransmitter for nociceptive input? III. Valproic acid and chlordiazepoxide decrease behaviors elicited by intrathecal injection of substance P and excitatory compounds

Hanan Frenk, Daniel Bossut, David J. Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Intrathecal (i.t.) injections of substance P (SP) and kainic acid in rats produced rostrally directed scratches with the hindlimbs and caudally directed bites or licks. These behaviors, together with myoclonic twitches and vocalization, were also produced by I.T. morphine and strychnine. Intrathecal valproic acid (VA) significantly reduced all behaviors when these occurred spontaneously, and VA and chlordiazepoxide both reduced these behaviors when they were evoked by a light cotton swab tap to the lumbosacral region, in rats treated with the excitatory compounds. Since neither anticonvulsant affected the thermal or mechanical pain threshold at these doses, these results suggest that (a) the behaviors elicited by i.t. injection of the excitatory compounds are not responses to perceived pain, but rather the expression of a spinal convulsive-like state, and (b), since scratching and biting were the only behaviors produced by SP, this peptide is neither necessary nor sufficient for the elicitation of pain at the spinal level. Although our experiments do not rule out other roles for SP in pain processes such as that of a neuromodulator, it is unlikely that this compound is a traditional primary afferent neurotransmitter of pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-246
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research
Volume455
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 Jul 1988

Keywords

  • Behavior
  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Kainic acid
  • Morphine
  • Pain
  • Spinal cord
  • Strychnine
  • Substance P
  • Valproic acid

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