Buspirone, a partial agonist of the 5-HTR, due to potential antinociceptive properties can be useful for abdominal pain treatment in IBS patients. Pain-related effects of buspirone can be mediated by the 5-HTRs, located within the nucleus tractus solitarius. The 5-HTR involvement in pain transmission within the NTS is unclear. The objective of our study was to evaluate the involvement of the 5-HTR in abdominal pain transmission within the NTS. Using a model of abdominal pain on urethane-anesthetized rats, two types of NTS pain-related neurons responding to the noxious colorectal distension (CRD) with excitatory and inhibitory sustained patterns of evoked activity were revealed. Buspirone (1.0 – 4.0 mg kg, iv) has complex time- and dose-depended action on the CRD-induced NTS neuron responses. Buspirone inhibits the responses of the excitatory neurons and inverts the responses of the inhibitory pain-related neurons but at a dose of 4.0 buspirone, the effect on NTS pain-related neurons attenuates. The inhibitory effect of buspirone on the CRD-evoked responses of the excitatory NTS neurons is completely blocked by an intra-cerebroventricular administration of buspirone agonist WAY100,635. The inhibitory responses do not change by this agonist. The inhibitory action of buspirone is mediated by supraspinal 5-HT receptors however, its excitatory effect on inhibitory neurons does not dependents on these receptors. We proposed that the NTS pain-related neurons could be involved in anti- or pronociceptive effects of buspirone on abdominal pain.
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