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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Feb 2020 - 21 Feb 2020

Animal Studies

2020 Feb 16

J Comp Neurol

Perineural application of resiniferatoxin on uninjured L3 and L4 nerves completely alleviates thermal and mechanical hypersensitivity following L5 nerve injury in rats.


Fifth lumbar (L5) nerve injury in rats causes neuropathic pain manifested with thermal and mechanical hypersensitivity in the ipsilateral hind paw. This study aimed to determine whether the elimination of unmyelinated primary afferents of the adjacent uninjured nerves (L3 and L4) would alleviate peripheral neuropathic pain. Different concentrations of capsaicin or its analog, resiniferatoxin (RTX), were applied perineurally on either the left L4 or L3 and L4 nerves in Wistar rats whose left L5 nerves were ligated and cut. The application of both capsaicin and RTX on the L4 nerve significantly reduced both thermal and mechanical hypersensitivity. However, only the application of RTX on both L3 and L4 nerves completely alleviated all neuropathic manifestations. Interestingly, responses to thermal and mechanical stimuli were preserved, despite RTX application on uninjured L3, L4, and L5 nerves, which supply the plantar skin in rats. Perineural application of RTX caused downregulation of TRPV1, CGRP, and IB4 binding and upregulation of VIP in the corresponding DRG and the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. In comparison, VGLUT1 and NPY immunoreactivities were not altered. RTX application did not cause degenerative or ultrastructural changes in the treated nerves and corresponding DRGs. The results demonstrate that RTX induces neuroplasticity, rather than structural changes in primary afferents, that are responsible for alleviating hypersensitivity and chronic pain. Furthermore, this study suggests that treating uninjured adjacent spinal nerves may be used to manage chronic neuropathic pain following peripheral nerve injury. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.