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Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 Dec 2019 - 20 Dec 2019

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 Aug

Behav Pharmacol



Comparison of chemotherapy effects on mechanical sensitivity and food-maintained operant responding in male and female rats.


Legakis LP, Diester CM, Townsend EA, Karim-Nejad L, Negus S S
Behav Pharmacol. 2020 Aug; 31(5):477-490.
PMID: 31833969.


Chemotherapies of varying classes often cause neuropathy and debilitating chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain sufficient to limit treatment and reduce quality of life for many patients battling cancer. There are currently no effective preventive or alleviative treatments for chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain. Preclinical models have been developed to test candidate chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain treatments; however, studies using these models rarely provide direct comparisons of effects of different chemotherapies or assess the degree to which chemotherapies produce clinically relevant signs of pain-depressed behavior. Male and female Sprague-Dawley rats received four injections of vehicle, paclitaxel, oxaliplatin, vincristine, or bortezomib on alternate days. Mechanical hypersensitivity, body weight, and food-maintained operant responding were evaluated before, during, and for up to 42 days after initiation of treatment. Morphine potency and effectiveness to reverse chemotherapy-induced effects were also evaluated. All four chemotherapies produced dose-dependent and sustained mechanical hypersensitivity in all rats. Vincristine and oxaliplatin produced transient weight loss and decreases in food-maintained operant responding in all rats, whereas paclitaxel and bortezomib produced lesser or no effect. At 4 weeks after treatment, operant responding was depressed only in paclitaxel-treated males. Morphine reversed mechanical hypersensitivity in all rats but failed to reverse paclitaxel-induced depression of operant responding in males. We conclude that chemotherapy treatments sufficient to produce sustained mechanical hypersensitivity failed to produce sustained or morphine-reversible behavioral depression in rats. Insofar as pain-related behavioral depression is a cardinal sign of chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain in humans, these results challenge the presumption that these chemotherapy-dosing regimens are sufficient to model clinically relevant chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain in rats.