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To examine the antinociceptive effects of N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor NR2 subunit antagonists in a rat model of the facial formalin test. Experiments were carried out on adult male Sprague-Dawley rats weighing 220 to 280 g. Anesthetized rats were individually mounted on a stereotaxic frame and a polyethylene tube was implanted for intracisternal injection and, 72 hours later, formalin tests were performed. NMDA receptor antagonists were administered intracisternally 10 minutes prior to subcutaneous injection of 5% formalin (50 MicroL) into the vibrissal pad. The intracisternal administration of 25, 50, or 100 Microg of memantine, an antagonist that acts at the NMDA ion channel site, significantly suppressed the number of scratches in the second phase of the behavioral responses to formalin. Intracisternal administration of a range of doses of 5,7-dichlorokynurenic acid, a glycine site antagonist, or DL-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoate (AP-5), a nonselective NMDA site antagonist, produced significant antinociceptive effects in the second phase. Intracisternal administration of 1, 2.5, or 5 Microg of (2R,4S)-4-(3 Phosphonopropyl)-2-piperidine_carboxylic acid (PPPA), a competitive NR2A antagonist, significantly suppressed the number of scratches in the second phase, while only the highest dose of PPPA (5 Microg) significantly suppressed the number of scratches in the first phase. The antinociceptive effects of intracisternal injection of (alphaR, betaS)-alpha-(4Hydroxyphenyl)-_ methyl-4-(phenylmethyl)-1-Piperidinepropanol maleate(Ro 25-6981), a selective NR2B antagonist, were similar to those of PPPA. Injection of memantine, AP-5, Ro 25-6981, or vehicle did not result in any motor dysfunction. A low dose of PPPA (1 microg) or 5,7-dichlorokynurenic acid (2.5 microg) did not affect motor function. However, higher doses of PPPA and 5,7-dichlorokynurenic acid produced motor dysfunction. The present results suggest that central NR2 subunits play an important role in orofacial nociceptive transmission. Moreover, this data also indicate that targeted inhibition of the NMDA receptor NR2 subunit is a potentially important new treatment approach for inflammatory pain originating in the orofacial area.


Gwi Y Yang, Young W Woo, Min Kyoung Park, Yong C Bae, Dong K Ahn, Eloisa Bonfa. Intracisternal administration of NR2 antagonists attenuates facial formalin-induced nociceptive behavior in rats. Journal of orofacial pain. 2010;24(2):203-11

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PMID: 20401359

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