2007 Volume 104 Issue 2 Pages 159-166
We previously demonstrated that electroacupuncture (EA) stimulation both produced antinociception and attenuated intrathecal (i.t.) morphine analgesia, suggesting that EA is capable of inducing two opposing systems, that is, opioid and anti-opioid mechanisms. This study examined the involvement of cholecystokinin (CCK) in the anti-opioid effects following EA in the spinal cord. EA was applied to commonly used acupoints for antinociception, ST-36 located 5-mm lateral to the anterior tubercle of the tibia, and analgesia was assessed by the hind-paw pressure test in male Sprague-Dawley rats. I.t. administration of CCK (0.01 – 10 μg) attenuated i.t. morphine analgesia (10 μg) dose-dependently. The attenuation of morphine analgesia following EA was reversed by i.t. proglumide, a CCK-receptor antagonist (0.01 μg). CCK-like immunoreactivity was increased in lamina I and II in the dorsal horn, and expression of spinal CCK mRNA increased after EA. Moreover, i.t. pretreatment with the neurokinin-1 (NK1)-receptor antagonist L-703,606 (18 μg) reversed both EA- and CCK-induced attenuation of morphine analgesia. These results suggest that CCK-mediated neural systems in the spinal cord may be involved in the attenuation of morphine analgesia following EA and that substance P-induced activation of NK1 receptors may be responsible for the downstream neuronal transmission of the CCK-mediated neuronal system.