Significance of medial preoptic area among the subcortical and cortical areas that are related to pain regulation in the rats with stress-induced hyperalgesia.


Department of Physiology, Wakayama Medical University, Kimiidera 811-1, Wakayama City, 641-8509, Japan. Electronic address: [Email]


Psychophysical stresses frequently increase sensitivity and response to pain, which is termed stress-induced hyperalgesia (SIH). However, the mechanism remains unknown. The subcortical areas such as medial preoptic area (MPO), dorsomedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (DMH), basolateral (BLA) and central nuclei of the amygdala (CeA), and the cortical areas such as insular (IC) and anterior cingulate cortices (ACC) play an important role in pain control via the descending pain modulatory system. In the present study we examined the expression of phosphorylated -cAMP-response element binding protein (pCREB) and the acetylation of histone H3 in these subcortical and cortical areas after repeated restraint stress to reveal changes in the subcortical and cortical areas that affect the function of descending pain modulatory system in the rats with SIH. The repeated restraint stress for 3 weeks induced a decrease in mechanical threshold in the rat hindpaw, an increase in the expression of pCREB in the MPO and an increase in the acetylation of histone H3 in the MPO, BLA and IC. The MPO was the only area that showed an increase in both the expression of pCREB and the acetylation of histone H3 among these examined areas after the repeated restraint stress. Furthermore, the number of pCREB-IR or acetylated histone H3-IR cells in the MPO was negatively correlated with the mechanical threshold. Together, our data represent the importance of the MPO among the subcortical and cortical areas that control descending pain modulatory system under the condition of SIH.


histone acetylation,hyperalgesia,medial preoptic area,pCREB,restraint stress,

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