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Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache



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J Orofac Pain 31 (2017), No. 3     10. Aug. 2017
J Orofac Pain 31 (2017), No. 3  (10.08.2017)

Page 275-284

Estrogen Status Gates Effects of Kappa-Opioid Receptor on Temporomandibular Joint-Responsive Neurons at the Spinomedullary Junction in Female Rats
Tashiro, Akimasa / Bereiter, David A. / Nishida, Yasuhiro
Aims: To determine whether estrogen status alters κ-opioid inhibition of nociceptive processing by affecting temporomandibular joint (TMJ) input to neurons in the trigeminal subnucleus caudalis [Vc]/C1-2 region at the spinomedullary junction in female rats.
Methods: TMJ-responsive neurons were recorded in laminae I-II of the Vc/C1-2 region at the spinomedullary junction of ovariectomized female rats treated for 2 days with low-dose estradiol (LE group; 2 mg/day) or high-dose estradiol (HE group; 20 mg/day). Under isoflurane anesthesia, TMJ neurons were activated by adenosine triphosphate (ATP; 1 mM, 20 μl), which was injected into the joint space before and after cumulative doses of a κ-opioid receptor (KOR) agonist (U50488) given systemically (0.03, 0.3, and 3 mg/kg, intravenously) or by local application to the dorsal surface of the Vc/C1-2 region (1 and 10 nmol/30 μl). Analysis of variance and Newman-Keuls test were performed to compare the data.
Results: Systemic U50488 caused a doserelated inhibition of ATP-evoked neuronal activity in HE rats and reduced the size of the neuronal cutaneous receptive field (RF), while effects in LE rats were not significant. Systemic U50488 reduced the spontaneous activity of TMJ-responsive neurons to similar levels in LE and HE groups. Locally applied U50488 inhibited ATP-evoked neuronal activity in HE rats, but not in LE rats. Systemic and local administration of the KOR antagonist nor-binaltorphinine (nor-BNI) partially reversed the decrease in Rmag induced by U50488, but had no effect on neurons from LE rats.
Conclusion: These results indicate that KOR-dependent effects on TMJ-responsive neurons in the superficial laminae of the Vc/C1-2 region in female rats are differentially modified by high and low estrogen status. The site of action for estrogen-induced modulation of TMJ neuronal activity by KOR likely includes second-order neurons in the Vc/C1-2 region.

Keywords: estrogenic effects, opioid analgesia, orofacial pain, temporomandibular joint, trigeminal brainstem