The present study evaluates the effect of systemic pentobarbital on the spinal transmission of nociceptive information and on stimulation-produced descending inhibition in the deeply anesthetized, paralyzed cat. Single neuronal responses to noxious skin heating were recorded extracellulary in the lumbar dorsal horn and found to be depressed by pentobarbital at subanesthetic doses (4.0, 8.0, 17.0 and 24.5 mg/kg) in a dose-dependent manner. At 0.5 and 1.5 mg/kg, depression by pentobarbital was positively correlated with the depth of the recording site in the spinal cord (laminae IV-VI) i.e., neurons in deeper laminae (V-VI) were attenuated, while neurons in lamina IV were unaffected. At all doses tested, pentobarbital failed to affect stimulation-produced descending inhibition from either the midbrain periaqueductal gray or the medullary nucleus raphe magnus. The present data furnish evidence for the antinociceptive potency of pentobarbital, they do not support the view that a 'partial pharmacological spinal cord transection' would attenuate stimulation-produced descending inhibition of nociceptive dorsal horn neurons.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)