Release of amino acids into regional superfusates of the spinal cord by mechano-stimulation of the reproductive tract

David B. Masters, Frank Jordan, Carlos Beyer, Barry R. Komisaruk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Based on pharmacological evidence that inhibitory amino acids mediate vaginocervical mechano-stimulation produced analgesia (VSPA), we hypothesized that inhibitory amino acids would be released endogenously in the spinal cord in response to vaginocervical mechano-stimulation (VS). This hypothesis was tested by HPLC analysis of the amino acid content of 5-min superfusates of the spinal cord before, during and after VS (400 g force applied against the cervix) in urethane-anesthetized rats. Utilizing an in vivo push-pull superfusion method, artificial cerebrospinal fluid was continuously superfused over the spinal cord through the intrathecal space surrounding the sacral-lower thoracic region. In addition, concentrations of amino acids in the superfusate were measured in response to KCl stimulation (increasing the superfusion medium from 3.4 to 40.0 mM KCl to produce non-specific depolarization), and to noxious hind paw mechano-stimulation (pinching the hind paw to produce a sustained flexor response in ipsilateral hind leg). There was a significant increase in the concentration of Gly, Tau, Asp, Glu and Lys in the superfusate in response to VS (n = 8) and to KCl (n = 8), but not to hind paw stimulation (n = 5). Also, GABA concentrations increased in response to KCl, and the concentration of Ala, Ser, Gln, Thr, Arg and Phe increased in response to VS, however, GABA levels were sometimes below the limits of detection. In contrast, there was no significant change in any amino acid concentration in response to hind paw pinch stimulation, and VS did not significantly affect the concentrations of Tyr, His, Ile, Leu, Met, Trp or Val. The present findings support our hypothesis that VS releases inhibitory amino acids in the spinal cord. Moreover, other amino acids, including 'excitatory' amino acids, are released into the superfusate. The profile of amino acid release in response to VS differs from that in response to paw pinch or KCl administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-290
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 10 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Analgesia
  • Aspartate
  • GABA
  • Glutamate
  • Glycine
  • Intrathecal space
  • Nociception
  • Potassium stimulation
  • Regional superfusion
  • Taurine
  • Vaginocervical stimulation


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