Intrathecal phospholipase A (PLA) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), but not COX-1, inhibitors attenuate facilitated pain states generated by peripheral injury/inflammation and by direct activation of spinal glutamate and substance P receptors. These results are consistent with the constitutive expression of PLA and COX-2 in spinal cord, the spinal release of prostaglandins by persistent afferent input, and the effects of prostaglandins on spinal excitability. Whereas the acute actions of COX-2 inhibitors are clearly mediated by constitutively expressed spinal COX-2, studies of spinal COX-2 expression indicate that it is upregulated by neural input and circulating cytokines. Given the intrathecal potency of COX-2 inhibitors, the comparable efficacy of intrathecal versus systemic COX-2 inhibitors in hyperalgesic states not associated with inflammation, and the onset of antihyperalgesic activity prior to COX-2 upregulation, it is argued that a principal antihyperalgesic mechanism of COX-2 inhibitors lies with modulation of constitutive COX-2 present at the spinal level.

Keyword(s): COXhyperalgesiaintrathecalisozymespainPLA2

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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