Inhibition of spinal constitutive NOS-2 by 1400W attenuates tissue injury and inflammation-induced hyperalgesia and spinal p38 activation


Dr X.-Y. Hua, as above.


Nitric oxide (NO) and its synthesizing enzymes, including NO synthase-2 (NOS-2, also called inducible NOS, iNOS), have been implicated in spinal nociception. 1400W is a highly selective NOS-2 inhibitor, as compared with either NOS-1 (neuronal NOS, nNOS) or NOS-3 (endothelial NOS). Here we examined the anti-nociceptive effects of intrathecal (IT) administration of 1400W in two experimental models of hyperalgesia (formalin and carrageenan models), in addition to the effect of 1400W on stimulation-induced activation of spinal p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38). IT treatment of rats with 1400W produced a dose-dependent inhibition of paw formalin-induced phase II flinches, and attenuated carrageenan-induced thermal hyperalgesia. In contrast, IT injection of a selective inhibitor of NOS-1, nNOS inhibitor-I, had no effect in either model. Furthermore, 1400W at a dose that suppressed formalin-induced flinching behavior also blocked formalin-evoked p38 phosphorylation (activation) in the spinal cord, while nNOS inhibitor-I displayed no activity. The prompt effects of IT 1400W suggest involvement of constitutively expressed NOS-2 in spinal nociception. The NOS-2 protein in rat spinal cords was undetectable by Western blotting. However, when the protein was immunoprecipitated prior to Western blotting, NOS-2-immunoreactive bands were detected in the tissues, including naïve spinal cords. The presence of constitutive spinal NOS-2 was further confirmed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Taken together, the present studies suggest that constitutively expressed spinal NOS-2 mediates tissue injury and inflammation-induced hyperalgesia, and that activation of p38 is one of the downstream factors in NO-mediated signaling in the initial processing of spinal nociception.