Table of Contents
Volume 2013, Article ID 471378, 10 pages
Research Article

PKC-Dependent Signaling Pathways within PAG and Thalamus Contribute to the Nitric Oxide-Induced Nociceptive Behavior

Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Drug Research and Child Health (NEUROFARBA), Section of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Florence, Viale G. Pieraccini 6, 50139 Florence, Italy

Received 13 June 2013; Accepted 8 July 2013

Academic Editors: J. Ferreira, B. Kuran, and A. Nackley

Copyright © 2013 Nicoletta Galeotti and Carla Ghelardini. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nitric oxide (NO) is an important molecule involved in nociceptive processing in the central nervous system. The release of NO within the spinal cord has long been implicated in the mechanisms underlying exaggerated pain sensitivity, and administration of NO donors can induce hyperalgesia. To elucidate the supraspinal mechanism responsible for NO-induced nociceptive hypersensitivity, we investigated the modulation of protein kinase C (PKC) and downstream effectors following treatment with the NO donors nitroglycerin and sodium nitroprusside. Both compounds induced a prolonged cold allodynia and heat hyperalgesia, increased levels of c-Fos and IL-1β, and activated NF-κB within periaqueductal grey matter and thalamus. Simultaneously, an increased expression and phosphorylation of PKC γ and ε were detected. To clarify the cellular mechanism involved in the NO-induced hypernociception, we examined the expression of transcription factors that act as PKC downstream effectors. A dramatic hyperphosphorylation of CREB and STAT1 was observed. The i.c.v. administration of the PKC blocker calphostin C prevented the NO-induced hypernociception, the hyperphosphorylation of CREB and STAT1, and partially reduced NF-κB activation. Conversely, the increase of IL-1β was unmodified by calphostin C. These results suggest the relevance of cerebral PKC-mediated CREB and STAT1 activation in the NO donor-induced nociceptive behavior.