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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 Jan 2024 - 19 Jan 2024

2024 Jan 11



An experimental model for primary neuropathic corneal pain induced by long ciliary nerve ligation in rats.


Wu J, Yuan T, Fu D, Xu R, Zhang W, Li S, Ding J, Feng L, Xia Y, Wang J, Li W, Han Y


Neuropathic corneal pain (NCP) is a new and ill-defined disease characterized by pain, discomfort, aching, burning sensation, irritation, dryness, and grittiness. However, the mechanism underlying NCP remain unclear. Here, we reported a novel rat model of primary NCP induced by long ciliary nerve (LCN) ligation. After sustained LCN ligation, the rats developed increased corneal mechanical and chemical sensitivity, spontaneous blinking, and photophobia, which were ameliorated by intraperitoneal injection of morphine or gabapentin. However, neither tear reduction nor corneal injury was observed in LCN-ligated rats. Furthermore, after LCN ligation, the rats displayed a significant reduction in corneal nerve density, as well as increased tortuosity and beading nerve ending. Long ciliary nerve ligation also notably elevated corneal responsiveness under resting or menthol-stimulated conditions. At a cellular level, we observed that LCN ligation increased calcitonin gene-related peptide (neuropeptide)-positive cells in the trigeminal ganglion (TG). At a molecular level, upregulated mRNA levels of ion channels Piezo2, TRPM8, and TRPV1, as well as inflammatory factors TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6, were also detected in the TG after LCN ligation. Meanwhile, consecutive oral gabapentin attenuated LCN ligation-induced corneal hyperalgesia and increased levels of ion channels and inflammation factors in TG. This study provides a reliable primary NCP model induced by LCN ligation in rats using a simple, minimally invasive surgery technique, which may help shed light on the underlying cellular and molecular bases of NCP and aid in developing a new treatment for the disease.