The development of α-adrenergic sensitivity in cutaneous nociceptors has been postulated as a mechanism for sympathetically maintained pain (SMP). In order to characterize the adrenergic receptors involved, we investigated the effects of intraplantar administration of α1-(prazosin) and α2-(yohimbine) adrenergic antagonists and systemic injection of phentolamine, a non-specific α-adrenergic blocker, on allodynic/hyperalgesic behavior in an animal model thought to mimic SMP in humans. Peripheral neuropathy in rats was induced by tight ligation of the L5/L6 spinal nerves. Mechanical hyperalgesia was quantified with von Frey hairs applied either for 3 s or repetitively to the plantar surface of the hindpaw. Responses to the 3 s duration stimulus were used to determine the paw withdrawal threshold with the up-down paradigm and repetitive stimuli were used to determine the response incidence of paw withdrawal to a given von Frey hair. Mechanical thresholds on the ipsilateral paw decreased significantly after ligation and were stable over the following 3 weeks. Intradermal administration of yohimbine or prazosin did not significantly alleviate mechanical hyperalgesia in L5/L6 ligated animals. Also systemic administration of phentolamine (1 and 5 mg/kg) did not alleviate the increased incidence of paw withdrawal in L5/L6 spinal nerve ligated animals. These results suggest that an alpha adrenergic interaction between sympathetic efferent and somatic afferent fibers does not play a critical role for the maintenance of mechanical hyperalgesia in this model for neuropathic pain. Copyright (C) 1999 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier Science B.V.
- L5 ligation
- Neuropathic pain
- Sympathetically maintained pain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine