• Differential activation of colonic afferents and dorsal horn neurons underlie stress-induced and comorbid visceral hypersensitivity in female rats

      Cao, Dong-Yuan; Hu, Bo; Xue, Yang; Hanson, Shelby; Dessem, Dean; Dorsey, Susan G; Traub, Richard J (Elsevier Inc., 2021-04-20)
      Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and temporomandibular disorder (TMD), represent a group of idiopathic pain conditions that likely have peripheral and central mechanisms contributing to their pathology, but are poorly understood. These conditions are exacerbated by stress and have a female predominance. The presence of one condition predicts the presence or development of additional conditions, making this a significant pain management problem. The current study was designed to determine if the duration and magnitude of peripheral sensitization and spinal central sensitization differs between restraint stress-induced visceral hypersensitivity (SIH) and chronic comorbid pain hypersensitivity (CPH; stress during pre-existing orofacial pain). SIH in female rats, as determined by the visceromotor response, persisted at least four but resolved by seven weeks. In contrast, CPH persisted at least seven weeks. Surprisingly, colonic afferents in both SIH and CPH rats were sensitized at seven weeks. CPH rats also had referred pain through seven weeks, but locally anesthetizing the colon only attenuated the referred pain through four weeks, suggesting a transition to colonic afferent independent central sensitization. Different phenotypes of dorsal horn neurons were sensitized in the CPH rats seven weeks post stress compared to four weeks or SIH rats. The current study suggests differential processing of colonic afferent input to the lumbosacral spinal cord contributes to visceral hypersensitivity during comorbid chronic pain conditions. Perspective: Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions represent a unique challenge in pain management. The diverse nature of peripheral organs hinders a clear understanding of underlying mechanisms accounting for the comorbidity. This study highlights a mismatch between the condition-dependent behavior and peripheral and spinal mechanisms that contribute to visceral pain hypersensitivity.
    • Oxytocin inhibits hindpaw hyperalgesia induced by orofacial inflammation combined with stress.

      Li, Yue-Xin; Li, Jia-Heng; Guo, Yi; Tao, Zhuo-Ying; Qin, Shi-Hao; Traub, Richard J; An, Hong; Cao, Dong-Yuan (SAGE Publications Inc., 2022-04-21)
      Oxytocin (OT) is recognized as a critical neuropeptide in pain-related disorders. Chronic pain caused by the comorbidity of temporomandibular disorder (TMD) and fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is common, but whether OT plays an analgesic role in the comorbidity of TMD and FMS is unknown. Female rats with masseter muscle inflammation combined with 3-day forced swim (FS) stress developed somatic hypersensitivity, which modeled the comorbidity of TMD and FMS. Using this model, the effects of spinal OT administration on mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in hindpaws were examined. Furthermore, the protein levels of OT receptors and 5-HT2A receptors in the L4-L5 spinal dorsal horn were analyzed by Western blot. The OT receptor antagonist atosiban and 5-HT2A receptor antagonist ritanserin were intrathecally injected prior to OT injection in the separate groups. Intrathecal injection of 0.125 μg and 0.5 μg OT attenuated the hindpaw hyperalgesia. The expression of OT receptors and 5-HT2A receptors in the L4-L5 spinal dorsal horn significantly increased following intrathecal injection of 0.5 μg OT. Intrathecal administration of either the OT receptor antagonist atosiban or 5-HT2A receptor antagonist ritanserin blocked the analgesic effect of OT. These results suggest that OT may inhibit hindpaw hyperalgesia evoked by orofacial inflammation combined with stress through OT receptors and/or 5-HT2A receptors, thus providing a therapeutic prospect for drugs targeting the OT system and for patients with comorbidity of TMD and FMS.