Segmental release of Met-enkephalin-like material from the spinal cord of rats, elicited by noxious thermal stimuli

Brain Res. 1989 Apr 10;484(1-2):71-7. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(89)90349-1.


In order to investigate possible changes induced by noxious thermal stimuli in the activity of enkephalinergic neurones at various levels of the spinal cord, either the whole cord, the cervicotrigeminal area or the lumbar area were perifused with artificial CSF at a rate of 0.1 ml/min in halothane anaesthetized rats, and Met-enkephalin-like material (MELM) was measured in 0.5 ml fractions collected from the perifusates. Immersing the muzzle of intact rats in water at 52 degrees C produced a significant enhancement of MELM content in perifusates from both the whole spinal cord and the cervicotrigeminal area but not from the lumbar area. Heating the tail resulted in an increase in MELM release from the whole spinal cord of intact as well as of cervically transected rats. It is concluded that noxious thermal stimuli can induce a segmental release of MELM, i.e., only within spinal zones receiving the nociceptive inputs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Enkephalin, Methionine / metabolism*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Male
  • Pain / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology


  • Enkephalin, Methionine