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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 May 2023 - 19 May 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Neuropathic Pain

2023 Apr 25

Int J Mol Sci




Systemic and Peripheral Mechanisms of Cortical Stimulation-Induced Analgesia and Refractoriness in a Rat Model of Neuropathic Pain.


Assis DV, Campos ACP, Paschoa AFN, Santos TF, Fonoff ET, Pagano RL


Epidural motor cortex stimulation (MCS) is an effective treatment for refractory neuropathic pain; however, some individuals are unresponsive. In this study, we correlated the effectiveness of MCS and refractoriness with the expression of cytokines, neurotrophins, and nociceptive mediators in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG), sciatic nerve, and plasma of rats with sciatic neuropathy. MCS inhibited hyperalgesia and allodynia in two-thirds of the animals (responsive group), and one-third did not respond (refractory group). Chronic constriction injury (CCI) increased IL-1β in the nerve and DRG, inhibited IL-4, IL-10, and IL-17A in the nerve, decreased β-endorphin, and enhanced substance P in the plasma, compared to the control. Responsive animals showed decreased NGF and increased IL-6 in the nerve, accompanied by restoration of local IL-10 and IL-17A and systemic β-endorphin. Refractory animals showed increased TNF-α and decreased IFNγ in the nerve, along with decreased TNF-α and IL-17A in the DRG, maintaining low levels of systemic β-endorphin. Our findings suggest that the effectiveness of MCS depends on local control of inflammatory and neurotrophic changes, accompanied by recovery of the opioidergic system observed in neuropathic conditions. So, understanding the refractoriness to MCS may guide an improvement in the efficacy of the technique, thus benefiting patients with persistent neuropathic pain.