Peripheral and central p38 MAPK mediates capsaicin-induced hyperalgesia

S M Sweitzer, M C Peters, J Y Ma, I Kerr, R Mangadu, S Chakravarty, S Dugar, S Medicherla, A A Protter, D C Yeomans
Pain 2004, 111 (3): 278-85
The stress-activated mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p38 is emerging as an important mediator of pain. The present study examined the possible involvement of peripheral and spinal p38 MAPK in capsaicin-induced thermal hyperalgesia. Topical capsaicin produced phosphorylation of p38 MAPK in the skin from the affected hindpaw as well as the corresponding lumbar spinal cord in a time dependent manner. Topical capsaicin produced robust C-fiber mediated thermal hyperalgesia that was inhibited by systemic, local peripheral, or central intrathecal pre-treatment with the p38 MAPK inhibitor, SD-282. Intraperitoneal SD-282 (10-60 mg/kg) significantly and dose-dependently attenuated capsaicin-induced C-fiber mediated thermal hyperalgesia. Similarly, 0.1-5mg/kg subcutaneous SD-282 in the hindpaw dose-dependently attenuated capsaicin-induced thermal hyperalgesia. Intrathecal administration of 1microg SD-282 was also anti-hyperalgesic in this model. Functionally, SD-282 decreased capsaicin-induced release of calcitonin gene related peptide in an in vitro skin release assay, consistent with a role for p38 MAPK in peripheral nerve function. These results suggest that p38 MAPK plays a role in the development of hyperalgesic states, exerting effects both centrally in the spinal cord and peripherally in sensory C fibers.

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