The melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is a peptidergic neuromodulator synthesized by neurons in the lateral hypothalamus and zona incerta. MCHergic neurons project throughout the central nervous system, indicating the involvements of many physiological functions, but the role in pain has yet to be determined. In this study, we found that pMCH−/− mice showed lower baseline pain thresholds to mechanical and thermal stimuli than did pMCH+/+ mice, and the time to reach the maximum hyperalgesic response was also significantly earlier in both inflammatory and neuropathic pain. To examine its pharmacological properties, MCH was administered intranasally into mice, and results indicated that MCH treatment significantly increased mechanical and thermal pain thresholds in both pain models. Antagonist challenges with naltrexone (opioid receptor antagonist) and AM251 (cannabinoid 1 receptor antagonist) reversed the analgesic effects of MCH in both pain models, suggesting the involvement of opioid and cannabinoid systems. MCH treatment also increased the expression and activation of CB1R in the medial prefrontal cortex and dorsolateral- and ventrolateral periaqueductal grey. The MCH1R antagonist abolished the effects induced by MCH. This is the first study to suggest novel analgesic actions of MCH, which holds great promise for the application of MCH in the therapy of pain-related diseases.
Scientific Reports – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 15, 2018
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