Transplants of adrenal medullary tissue or isolated chromaffin cells into the spinal cord subarachnoid space has been shown to reduce pain sensitivity in rats. This analgesia probably results from the release of neuroactive substances, particularly opioid peptides, from the transplanted cells since it is induced by nicotinic stimulation of chromaffin cell receptors, and can be blocked by naloxone. However, this analgesia is short-lived, most likely due to the rapid hydrolysis of opioid peptides. The purpose of this study was to determine whether protection of opioid peptide hydrolysis by the potent enkephalinase inhibitor kelatorphan could prolong this analgesia. Results indicated that the intrathecal injection of kelatorphan in animals with either adrenal medullary or chromaffin cell implants significantly prolonged nicotine-stimulated analgesia. Pretreatment with naloxone completely eliminated this analgesia. These results suggest that it may be possible to induce long-term reductions in pain sensitivity using enkephalinase inhibitors following the transplantation of opioid peptide-producing cells into the CNS.
- Chromaffin cells
- Neural grafts
- Pain modulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience