The role of PGE2 in the sensitization of highthreshold tarsal joint mechanoreceptors (putative nociceptors) has been investigated in 11 arthritic and 16 normal rats. Injections of a low dose of Freund's complete adjuvant at multiple sites into the tissues surrounding the ankle joint induced a chronic unilateral monoarthritis in the injected limb. Measurements of both spontaneous activity and responses of tarsal joint mechanoreceptors to repeated graded mechanical stimuli were made. All of the mechanoreceptors examined had afferent fibres with conduction velocities in the C or A-δ range. Using this new model of joint inflammation we have shown that lysine acetylsalicylate reduces the mechanical sensitivity of these joint mechanoreceptors and reduces the spontaneous activity in afferent nerve fibres. Prostaglandin E2 is unable to restore either the spontaneous activity in the afferent axon or the mechanical sensitivity of tarsal joint mechanoreceptors after lysine acetylsalicylate in the arthritic rat. Similarly, PGE2 does not sensitize or excite tarsal joint mechanoreceptors in the normal rat. In the normal rat, however, PGE2 potentiates the excitatory action of bradykinin and enhances the sensitizing effect of bradykinin on the responses of joint mechanoreceptors to mechanical stimulation when both substances are injected simultaneously. These results indicate that PGE2 is not important in the sensitization of these joint mechanoreceptors in this model of chronic joint inflammation but that in other circumstances PGE2 may be able to contribute to a sensitization of joint mechanoreceptors by enhancing the action of bradykinin.
- Arthritic rat joints
- Chronic inflammation
- Joint capsule mechanoreceptors