Mechanical hyperalgesia after an L5 ventral rhizotomy or an L5 ganglionectomy in the rat.

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PubMed URL:
Meyer RA
Author List: 
Sheth RN
Dorsi MJ
Li Y
Murinson BB
Belzberg AJ
Griffin JW
Meyer RA
PubMed ID: 
An L5 spinal nerve ligation (SNL) in the rat leads to behavioral signs of mechanical hyperalgesia. Our recent finding that an L5 dorsal root rhizotomy did not alter the mechanical hyperalgesia following an L5 SNL suggests that signals originating from the proximal stump of the injured nerve are not essential. We postulate that Wallerian degeneration of L5 nerve fibers leads to altered properties of adjacent intact nociceptive afferents. To investigate the role of degeneration in sensory versus motor fibers, five injury models were examined concurrently in a blinded fashion. An L5 ganglionectomy produced a selective lesion of sensory fibers. An L5 ventral root rhizotomy produced a selective lesion of motor fibers. The three control lesions included: (1) SNL with L5 dorsal root rhizotomy; (2) L5 dorsal root rhizotomy; and (3) exposure of the L5 roots without transection (sham). Paw withdrawal thresholds to mechanical stimuli were measured at three sites in the rat hindpaw corresponding to the L3, L4, and L5 dermatomes. Both the ganglionectomy and the ventral rhizotomy produced a significant, lasting (>or=20 d) decrease of mechanical withdrawal thresholds that was comparable to that produced by the SNL lesion. The L5 dorsal rhizotomy, by itself, produced a short lasting (<or=6 d) decrease in thresholds, whereas the sham procedure did not produce a significant change. We propose that interactions between degenerating motor and sensory fibers of the injured nerve and intact afferent fibers of neighboring nerves play a critical role for both initiation and maintenance of mechanical hyperalgesia in neuropathic pain.
Published Date: 
March, 2002

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