Molecular Biology of Dynorphin Gene Expression in Relationship to Spinal Cord Processing of Pain

  • Michael J. Iadarola
  • Donna J. Messersmith
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 79)


Peripheral inflammation and experimental neuropathic pain are known to induce a series of fundamental modifications of gene expression in neurons of the spinal cord dorsal horn. In most cases examined to date, the expression of the gene in question is increased.19–21,28,31–34,41,58,78 Several of the activated genes code for the precursor proteins of neuropeptides which include the dynorphin and enkephalin families of opioid peptides and the tachykinins, substance P and substance k.10,13,18,23 The increased expression results in an altered pattern of neuropeptide content in spinal cord second order neurons and their terminals 31–34,37,54,67 However, the exact physiological meaning of the increase in gene expression or peptide content remains somewhat of an open question. The increase likely signifies a greater state of physiological activity in the peptide synthesizing neuron and likely results in a more effective signal transduction through release of greater amounts of peptide. Some of the increases seen in spinal cord, therefore, may modulate or underlie neuronal excitability changes that are established over time in the dorsal horn during inflammation 30,79


PC12 Cell Dorsal Horn Phorbol Ester Chloramphenicol Acetyl Transferase Peripheral Inflammation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Iadarola
    • 1
  • Donna J. Messersmith
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurobiol. and Anesthesiol. Branch, NIDR, NIHBethesdaUSA

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