Licking decreases phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord after a formalin test.Anesth Analg. 2009 Oct; 109(4):1318-22.A&A
Nociceptive behaviors might attenuate pain sensation. Phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (pERK) was recently reported to be induced by noxious stimuli in dorsal horn neurons. We investigated, in a formalin test, whether pERK of the dorsal horn is affected by licking.
Twenty-four adult male rats were divided into four groups: control, formalin test, restricted control, and restricted formalin test. Ten percent formalin was injected subcutaneously into the left rear paw of the formalin test and restricted formalin test groups. The control and formalin test group rats were kept in a clear plastic chamber, whereas the restricted control and restricted formalin test group rats were kept in a modified-restraint, pipe-shaped chamber. All rats were killed after 25 min. Twelve sections of the lumbar spinal cord were processed for p-ERK immunohistochemistry using the avidin-biotin peroxidase method.
The number of p-ERK positive cells in the restricted formalin test group was significantly higher than in the other three groups in the ipsilateral-side superficial dorsal horn (P < 0.05). However, there was no significant difference between the formalin test group and the two control groups in pERK expression.
Licking decreased pERK of the spinal cord of the formalin test group. The findings suggested that licking attenuated the pain of the formalin test.