Volume 234 (2014) Issue 4 Pages 287-293
The N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, an ionotropic glutamate receptor, may play a significant role in the development and maintenance of an inflammatory pain. Activation of NMDA receptors may cause nitric oxide (NO) release through activation of NO synthase (NOS). MK-801, a noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist is commonly used as a neuropharmacological tool. The interaction between MK-801 and NOS in the inflammatory pain has not been evaluated before. We investigated whether MK-801 affects inflammatory pain and whether NOS modulates the effect of MK-801. Carrageenan-induced hyperalgesia was evaluated by measuring the withdrawal response to mechanical stimuli, using an electronic version of the von Frey anesthesiometer in Wistar rats. MK-801 given subcutaneously (0.5-20 μg/kg) or intraplantarly (0.1 and 0.15 μg/paw) significantly reduced mechanical hyperalgesia. Intraplantarly given MK-801 exerted a local antihyperalgesic effect, because when applied to the contralateral side it did not reduce mechanical sensitivity in the ipsilateral side. N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride (5 and 10 mg/kg), a non-selective NOS inhibitor, significantly reduced the effects of MK-801. N-ω-Propyl-L-arginine hydrochloride (0.5-2 mg/kg), a selective inhibitor of neuronal NOS, increased the antihyperalgesic effect of MK-801, whereas S-methylisothiourea (5-15 μg/kg), a selective inhibitor of inducible NOS, lowered the antihyperalgesic effect of MK-801. Importantly, each NOS inhibitor given alone did not affect carrageenan-induced hyperalgesia. In conclusion, MK-801 is effective against inflammatory pain and its antihyperalgesic effect is modulated in a different ways by NOS, being enhanced by a neuronal NOS inhibitor but reduced by an inducible NOS inhibitor.