Neurophysiological, pharmacological and behavioral evidence for medial thalamic mediation of cocaine-induced dopaminergic analgesia.

Article date: 1992/2/14

PubMed ID: 1611515

Journal name: Brain research (ISSN: 0006-8993)


These studies examined the effects of cocaine on thalamic neurons that respond maximally either to noxious or to innocuous somatic stimulation. Cocaine attenuated high intensity electrically-evoked nociceptive responses of all 25 units studied in the parafascicular and central lateral nuclei of the medial thalamus. A dose of 1 mg/kg intravenously (i.v.) suppressed medial thalamic unit discharge evoked by both noxious somatic stimulation (49.4 +/- 8.7% of control response) and spinal cord stimulation (76.2 +/- 6.6% of control response). The effect of cocaine on unit responses to noxious somatic stimulation was dose-related in the range of 0.3-3.5 mg/kg i.v. and was attenuated by eticlopride, a D-2 selective dopamine receptor antagonist. Morphine also suppressed noxious somatic evoked responses of medial thalamic units in a dose-dependent manner. Units in the lateral (ventrobasal) thalamus (n = 4) that responded only to innocuous stimuli were not affected by cocaine at doses up to 3.5 mg/kg i.v. Ibotenic acid lesions in the parafascicular nucleus of the medial thalamus attenuated the analgesic effect of cocaine in the formalin test. These results suggest that both cocaine and the parafascicular nucleus interact with dopaminergic mechanisms that attenuate nociceptive spinal projections to the medial thalamus.

Author List: Shyu B C, Kiritsy-Roy J A, Morrow T J, Casey K L

Publication Types: Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Substances mentioned in the article: Analgesics; Cocaine; Dopamine;

Mesh terms: Analgesics; Animals; Behavior, Animal/drug effects; Cocaine/pharmacology; Dopamine/physiology; Dose-Response Relationship, Drug; Male; Neurons/physiology; Rats; Rats, Inbred Strains; Thalamus/cytology;

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