Local Antinociception Induced by Endothelin-1 in the Hairy Skin of the Rat's Back

Saurav Shrestha, Neilia G. Gracias, Florence Mujenda, Alla Khodorova, Michael R. Vasko, Gary R. Strichartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Subcutaneous injection of endothelin-1 (ET-1) into the glabrous skin of the rat's hind paw is known to produce impulses in nociceptors and acute nocifensive behavioral responses, such as hind paw flinching, and to sensitize the skin to mechanical and thermal stimulation. In this report, we show that in contrast to the responses in glabrous skin, ET-1 injected subcutaneously into rat hairy skin causes transient antinociception. Concentrations of 1 to 50μM ET-1 (in 0.05mL) depress the local nocifensive response to noxious tactile probing at the injection site with von Frey filaments for 30 to 180minutes; distant injections have no effect at this site, showing that the response is local. Selective inhibition of ETA but not of ETB receptors inhibits this antinociception, as does coinjection with nimodipine (40 μM), a blocker of L-type Ca2+ channels. Local subcutaneous injection of epinephrine (45μM) also causes antinociception through α-1 adrenoreceptors, but such receptors are not involved in the ET-1-induced effect. Both epinephrine and ET-1, at antinociceptive concentrations, reduce blood flow in the skin; the effect from ET-1 is largely prevented by subcutaneous nimodipine. These data suggest that ET-1-induced antinociception in the hairy skin of the rat involves cutaneous vasoconstriction, presumably through neural ischemia, resulting in conduction block. Perspective: The pain-inducing effects of ET-1 have been well documented in glabrous skin of the rat, a frequently used test site. The opposite behavioral effect, antinociception, occurs from ET-1 in hairy skin and is correlated with a reduction in blood flow. Vasoactive effects are important in assessing mechanisms of peripherally acting agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-714
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pain
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009


  • analgesia
  • anesthesia
  • antinociception
  • blood flow
  • Ca channels
  • Endothelin-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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  • Cite this

    Shrestha, S., Gracias, N. G., Mujenda, F., Khodorova, A., Vasko, M. R., & Strichartz, G. R. (2009). Local Antinociception Induced by Endothelin-1 in the Hairy Skin of the Rat's Back. Journal of Pain, 10(7), 702-714. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2008.12.005