Release of Nociceptin-Like Substances From the Rat Spinal Cord Dorsal Horn

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Release of nociceptin-like substances from the dorsal horn of rat spinal cords in situ was measured by the immobilized-antibody microprobe technique. Spinal cords removed from anesthetized 4-6 week-old rats were superfused with oxygenated Krebs solution at room temperature (21 ± 1°C). Glass microelectrodes, coated with antibodies to nociceptin, were inserted into the dorsal horn of the lumbar spinal cord (1.9 mm lateral to the midline to a depth 2.5 mm below the surface of the cord) for 15 rain periods before, during and after electrical stimulation applied to the dorsal root entry zone of the same segment. There was a basal release of immunoreactive nociceptin- like substance (irNC) from the dorsal horns during the pre-stimulation period. A significant increase in irNC release was detected during the period of electrical stimulation and this increase was maintained for at least 15 min following the cessation of electrical stimulation. These results provide the first evidence on the release of irNC, albeit non-quantitative, from the in situ rat spinal cord dorsal horn and an enhanced release upon electrical stimulation.