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Inflammatory Pain Reduction In Rats By Local Treatment With oATP, A Selective Inhibitor Of P2X7 ATP Receptor

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Peptide neurotransmitters, as substance P or ATP, are released during inflammatiory processes by the nerve endings of sensory fibers. ATP is also released from the cytoplasm of damaged cells at the site of inflammation. It acts at the level of many P2X subtypes of purinoreceptors. The receptor for extracellular ATP named P2Z/P2X7 is selectively blocked by the periodate oxidized ATP (oATP). We have hypothesized that P2X subunits present on peripheral sensory nerve terminals, able to initiate a nociceptive signal, could be blocked by local treatment with oATP, so inducing pain relief. Male inbred Fisher rats weighing about 250 g were used. Unilateral inflammation into rat hind paw was induced by intraplantar injection of Freund's complete adjuvant (FCA). The following signs of inflammation, from 3 to 48 h after FCA injection, were detected: increased paw volume, increased paw temperature and hyperalgesia. The latter was evaluated using an algesiometric test wich measured the paw pressure threshold (PPT, expressed in g). We treated some rats, bearing paw inflammation by 12 h, with local injection of 56 μM oATP. We showed a significant reduction of hyperalgesia in treated rats (PPT = 190 ± 2.3 in inflamed paw of oATP treated vs. PPT = 60 ± 1.6 in inflamed paw of untreated rats, at 60 min following oATP innoculation). We showed also that treatment with oATP was more efficient than treatment with diclofenac in reducing local inflammatory pain (PPT expressed as percentage of the maximum possible effect = 60 ± 0.5, at 120 min following intraplantar administration of oATP, vs. 25 ± 1.9 at the same time following intraplantar administration of diclofenac). The use of polyclonal antibody anti P2X7 receptor to perform immunohistochemical analysis of inflamed tissue, showed a reduction of receptor expression at the level of nerve endings in sections obtained from rat paw treated with oATP with respect to sections obtained from untreated rats. Such an effect was independent on the recruitment of immunocytes in inflamed tissue. Our results demonstrate that ATP exerts a key role in the pathophysiology of peripheral inflammation and that oATP may be effective in treating inflammatory pain.
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Document Type: Abstract

Affiliations: Istituto di Patologia Generale, Università degli Studi di Milano

Publication date: March 1, 2001

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