Nociceptive responses to altered GABAergic activity at the spinal cord

Life Sci. 1986 Nov 3;39(18):1667-74. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(86)90164-5.


GABA agonists and antagonists were injected intrathecally at the spinal cord, to determine their effect on nociceptive thresholds. Tactile stimulation, applied against the flank by a medium diameter von Frey fiber (5.5 g force), elicited distress vocalizations after, but not before injection of the GABA antagonists, bicuculline MI or picrotoxin (0.25 and 1 microgram dosages). Vocalization threshold to tail shock was significantly reduced by bicuculline MI or picrotoxin. Tail flick withdrawal latency from radiant heat was not altered by GABA antagonists. The GABA agonist, muscimol, significantly elevated vocalization threshold to tail shock at a 5 micrograms dose. At a lower dose level (1 microgram), muscimol significantly reduced vocalization threshold to tail shock. Tail flick latency was significantly prolonged by the 5 micrograms dose of muscimol; however, flaccid paralysis of the hind limbs was also evident. Nociceptive thresholds were not altered by GABA or saline injection. These findings indicate that GABAergic activity contributes to the tonic modulation of nociception at the spinal cord.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bicuculline / analogs & derivatives
  • Bicuculline / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Muscimol / pharmacology
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Picrotoxin / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects*
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Tail / physiology
  • Vocalization, Animal / drug effects
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology*


  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Picrotoxin
  • Muscimol
  • bicuculline methiodide
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Bicuculline