Project Details


Our objectives are to identify the neurotransmitter(s) released by birth
canal mechanostimulation that mediate(s) the powerful analgesia triggered
by this sensory stimulus, to augment this analgesia pharmacologically by
inhibiting enzymatic breakdown of the neurotransmitter(s), and to determine
whether these enqyme-inhibitors augment analgesia during natural

The specific aims are:

1) to determine whether the enkephalinase inhibitor, thiorphan, and the
protease inhibitor, leupeptin, injected directly to the spinal cord
(intrathecally) via chronic catheter, intensify and/or prolong the
analgesia produced by artificial birth canal mechano-stimulation, and
whether the opiate antagonist, naloxone, antagonizes this effect. This
will provide evidence as to whether the activity of opiate and/or
non-opiate analgesia-producing systems are potentiated by the enzyme

2) to determine whether the same pharmacological treatments intensify
and/or prolong analgesia during the natural delivery of fetuses, which
normally provide mechano-stimulation of the birth canal (e.g. cervix) as
they are born.

3) to quantify, by radioimmunoassay, the levels of selected neuropeptides
(e.g. vasoactive intestinal peptide and met-enkephalin) in superfusates of
the spinal cord and homogenates of spinal cord segments, in response to
analgesia-producing birth canal stimulation. This will provide evidence as
to whether specific neuropeptides that produce analgesia are released in
the spinal cord in response to sensory stimulation similar to that
occurring normally during parturition.

The ultimate goal is to utilize, pharmacologically and/or neurologically,
this powerful analgesia-triggering natural sensory system for the control
of pain in humans.
Effective start/end date12/31/891/1/90


  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


  • Clinical Neurology


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