Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 118, Issue 4, pp 555–561

The effect of acetylcholine on pain-related electric activities in the hippocampal CA3 of rats

Basic Neurosciences, Genetics and Immunology - Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00702-010-0545-x

Cite this article as:
Li, GZ., Liang, QC., Jin, YH. et al. J Neural Transm (2011) 118: 555. doi:10.1007/s00702-010-0545-x


Acetylcholine (ACh) regulates pain perception in the central nervous system. However, the mechanism of action of ACh on pain-related neurons in the hippocampal CA3 is not clear. The present study aimed to determine the effect of ACh, muscarinic ACh receptors (mAChRs) agonist pilocarpine and mAChRs antagonist atropine on the pain-evoked responses of pain-excited neuron (PEN) and pain-inhibited neuron (PIN) in the hippocampal CA3 of normal rats. The trains of electric impulses applied to the sciatic nerve were used as noxious stimulation. The electric activities of PEN or PIN in the hippocampal CA3 were recorded by using a glass microelectrode. Our results showed that, in the hippocampal CA3, the intra-CA3 microinjection of ACh (2 μg/1 μl) or pilocarpine (2 μg/1 μl) decreased the discharge frequency and prolonged firing latency of PEN, and increased the discharge frequency and shortened firing inhibitory duration (ID) of PIN, i.e. exhibiting the analgesic effect of ACh or pilocarpine. The intra-CA3 administration of atropine (0.5 μg/1 μl) produced an opposite effect. On the basis of the above-mentioned findings, we can deduce that ACh and mAChRs in the hippocampal CA3 are involved in the modulation of nociceptive response by regulating the electric activities of PEN and PIN.


AcetylcholinePilocarpineAtropineHippocampal CA3Pain

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologySecond Affiliated Hospital, Harbin Medical UniversityHarbinChina
  2. 2.Laboratory of Neural Algesia Electrophysiology, Department of PhysiologyHarbin Medical UniversityHarbinChina
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyLiaocheng People’s HospitalLiaochengChina