2009 Volume 109 Issue 1 Pages 33-37
Arginine vasopressin (AVP) activates three vasopressin receptors and it also has an agonistic activity on the oxytocin receptor. For an accurate description of the target receptor subtype(s) responsible for complex AVP and oxytocin actions, a careful evaluation of ligand specificity and receptor activities are required, particularly when these receptors are co-expressed in the central nervous system. Previous studies suggest that AVP plays a regulatory role in nociception through the direct activation of central vasopressin receptors and also through the receptors that reside in the peripheral tissues. Genetically altered rodent models, including the AVP-deficient mutant Brattleboro rat and gene knockout mice lacking an endogenous opioid peptide, advanced the understanding of the interactions between the pain perception process and AVP system. This report reviews previous findings in this important field and reconciles them with the findings of recent gene knockout/knockdown studies.