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Pregabalin Suppresses Nociceptive Behavior and Central Sensitization in a Rat Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain Model

      Abstract

      The aim of this study was to determine whether pregabalin affects nociceptive behavior and central sensitization in a trigeminal neuropathic pain model. A partial infraorbital nerve transection (p-IONX) or sham operation was performed in adult male rats. Nociceptive withdrawal thresholds were tested with von Frey filaments applied to the bilateral vibrissal pads pre- and postoperatively. On postoperative day 7, the behavioral assessment was conducted before and at 30, 60, 120, and 180 minutes after and 24 hours after pregabalin (.1, 1, 10, 100 mg/kg intraperitoneally) or saline injection. The effects of pregabalin or saline were also examined on the mechanoreceptive field and response properties of nociceptive neurons recorded in the medullary dorsal horn at postoperative days 7 to 10. Reduced withdrawal thresholds reflecting bilateral mechanical allodynia were observed in p-IONX rats until postoperative day 28, but not in sham-operated rats. At postoperative day 7, pregabalin significantly and dose-dependently reversed the reduced mechanical withdrawal thresholds in p-IONX rats. Pregabalin also attenuated central sensitization of the neurons, as reflected in reversal of their reduced activation threshold, increased responses to pinch/pressure, and enhanced stimulus-response function. This study provides the first documentation that pregabalin attenuates the mechanical allodynia and central sensitization that characterize this trigeminal neuropathic pain model, and supports its clinical use for treating craniofacial neuropathic pain.

      Perspective

      Trigeminal nerve injury in rats produced facial mechanical hypersensitivity and trigeminal central sensitization of medullary dorsal horn neurons that were markedly attenuated by systemically administered pregabalin, suggesting its potential clinical utility for orofacial neuropathic pain.

      Key words

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