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Scientific article
Open access
English

Influence of the sympathetic nervous system in the development of abnormal pain-related behaviours in a rat model of neuropathic pain

Published inNeuroscience, vol. 67, no. 4, p. 941-951
Publication date1995
Abstract

This study evaluated the effect of surgical sympathectomy on pain-related behaviours in a well established model of peripheral mononeuropathy produced by loose ligatures around the common sciatic nerve in the rat. Behavioural abnormalities include spontaneous abnormal position of the hindpaw after the nerve constriction, indicative of "spontaneous pain", and changes in responses to mechanical or thermal stimuli applied to this paw. These changes are usually maximal at week 2 after the surgery, stable until weeks 3-4, and disappear between weeks 8 and 12. To assess the role of the sympathetic nervous system in the development and persistence of these abnormalities, four groups of rats were behaviourally tested: (i) rats receiving a complete sham surgery, (ii) rats with a sciatic nerve constriction produced by loose ligatures around the common nerve trunk plus a sham sympathectomy, (iii) rats receiving a lumbar sympathectomy with a sham nerve ligature, and (iv) rats receiving a simultaneous surgical lumbar sympathectomy and a sciatic nerve constriction. The efficacy of the sympathectomy was assessed by the measure of the noradrenaline level in the sciatic nerve. Sympathectomy reduced selectively or even prevented the abnormal reaction to cold temperature and to heat (45 degrees C) in rats with a peripheral mononeuropathy. In contrast, the abnormal reaction to mechanical pressure was not influenced, and the behavioural abnormalities indicating spontaneous pain were still present. Sympathectomy alone resulted in a reduction of the vocalization threshold to pressure on both hindpaws, but also a short-lasting increased tolerance to cold immersion. This study confirms the selective role of the sympathetic nervous system in affecting the development and maintenance of some abnormal pain-related behaviours to thermal stimuli in rats with a moderate, but persistent, constriction of one sciatic nerve.

Keywords
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Pain/physiopathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sciatic Nerve/physiology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena
  • Sympathectomy
  • Sympathetic Nervous System/physiopathology
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors
Citation (ISO format)
DESMEULES, Jules Alexandre et al. Influence of the sympathetic nervous system in the development of abnormal pain-related behaviours in a rat model of neuropathic pain. In: Neuroscience, 1995, vol. 67, n° 4, p. 941–951.
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Article (Published version)
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Identifiers
ISSN of the journal0306-4522
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