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Papers of the Week

2023 Jan 06

J Vis Exp


Surgery and Behavioral Testing in the Tibial Neuroma Transposition Model in Rats.


Brakkee E M, DeVinney E, Eijkelkamp N, Coert HJ
J Vis Exp. 2023 Jan 06(191).
PMID: 36688541.


The tibial neuroma transposition (TNT) is a rat model in which allodynia at the neuroma site (tibial nerve) can be independently evaluated from allodynia at the plantar surface of the hind paw innervated by the intact sural nerve. This TNT model is suitable to test therapies for neuroma pain, such as the potential superiority of certain surgical therapies that are already used in the clinic, or to evaluate new drugs and their effect on both pain modalities in the same animal. In this model, a distal lesion (neurotmesis) is made in the tibial nerve, and the proximal nerve end is transposed and fixed subcutaneously and pretibially to enable assessments of the neuroma site with a 15 g Von Frey monofilament. To assess allodynia over the sural nerve, Von Frey monofilaments can be used via the up-down method on the plantar lateral region of the hind paw. After cutting the tibial nerve, mechanical hypersensitivity develops at the neuroma site within 1 week after surgery and persists at least until 12 weeks after surgery. Allodynia at the sural innervated plantar surface develops within 3 weeks after surgery compared to the contralateral limb. At 12 weeks, a neuroma forms on the proximal end of the severed tibial nerve, indicated by dispersion and swirling of axons. For the TNT model surgery, multiple critical (micro)surgical steps need to be followed, and some surgery practice under terminal anesthesia is advised. Compared to other neuropathic pain models, such as the spared nerve injury model, allodynia over the neuroma site can be independently tested from sural nerve hypersensitivity in the TNT model. However, the neuroma site can be tested only in rats, not in mice. The tips and directions provided in this protocol can help research groups working on pain successfully implement the TNT model in their facility.