Neurochemical Research

, Volume 43, Issue 8, pp 1660–1670 | Cite as

Withdrawal from spinal application of remifentanil induces long-term potentiation of c-fiber-evoked field potentials by activation of Src family kinases in spinal microglia

  • Tao Yang
  • Sujuan Du
  • Xianguo Liu
  • Xijiu Ye
  • Xuhong Wei
Original Paper


It is well known that remifentanil, a widely used intravenous anesthesia drug, can paradoxically induce hyperalgesia. The underlying mechanisms are still not clear despite the wide investigations. The present study demonstrated that withdrawal from spinal application of remifentanil could dose-dependently induce long term potentiation (LTP) of C-fiber evoked field potentials. Remifentanil withdrawal could activate Src family kinases (SFKs) in microglia, and upregulate the expression of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) in spinal dorsal horn. Furthermore, pretreatment with either microglia inhibitor Minocycline, SFKs inhibitor PP2 or TNF αneutralization antibody could block remifentanil withdrawal induced spinal LTP, whereas supplement of recombinant rat TNFα to the spinal cord could reverse the inhibitory effect of Minocycline or PP2 on remifentanil withdrawal induced LTP. Our results suggested that TNFαrelease following SFKs activation in microglia is involved in the induction of LTP induced by remifentanil withdrawal.


Remifentanil Long term potentiation Src-family kinase Microglia Tumor necrosis factor alpha 



This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation (Beijing, People’s Republic of China. Nos. 81200856 and 81471250); Nature Science Foundation of Guangdong Province of China (Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China. Nos. 2014A030313029), and by Scientific Research Foundation of Guangdong Province of China (Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China. No. 2016A020215035). All grants were awarded to Dr. Wei.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology, SunYat-SenMemorial HospitalSunYat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and Pain Research Center, Zhongshan School of MedicineSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Brain Function and DiseaseGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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