The role of muscarinic receptor subtype-1 (M1) in chronic pain is unclear. In an attempt to gain an understanding of its role, we have tested xanomeline, an M1/M4-preferring agonist, together with nonselective (scopolamine and pirenzepine), and selective (MT-7 and MT-3) muscarinic receptor (M1 and M4, respectively) antagonists in a number of inflammatory and neuropathic pain models. Xanomeline potently and effectively reversed tactile allodynia and heat hyperalgesia associated with established neuropathic and inflammatory pain in both rat and mouse models. Scopolamine and pirenzepine completely blocked the analgesic response to xanomeline, confirming that the analgesic effect is mediated by the muscarinic system. The highly selective M1 receptor toxin, MT-7, almost completely abolished the analgesic response to xanomeline when administered supraspinally. However, the highly selective M4 receptor toxin, MT-3, only marginally reversed the analgesia when given supraspinally, and had no effect when given spinally. In conclusion, the data presented show that the nonselective muscarinic agonist xanomeline is analgesic in models of persistent pain and suggest that the activation of supraspinal M1 receptors, and to a lesser extent supraspinal M4 receptors, contributes to that analgesia.
Copyright © 2011 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.