Long term treatment with gabapentin in an animal model of chronic neuropathic pain

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In preclinical animal pain research potential efficacy of a drug is often evaluate after a single exposure, which is in contrast to the long lasting treatment needed in chronic neuropathic pain (CNP) patients. Gabapentin remains one of the most efficacious drugs in the treatment of CNP. The aims of the study were to evaluate the spinal cord contusion (SCC) model and 2 different measures of painlike behaviour using a long term treatment schedule with gabapentin. Furthermore the effect on mobility and on anxiety, a pain-related behaviour, was included. 40 Female SD rats with a T13 SCC and sham animals. Daily treatment with gabapentin 30 mg/kg sc. or saline for 6 consecutive weeks. Mechanical sensitivity thresholds (MST) to von Frey stimulation of hindpaws and thorax measured by both reflex withdrawal and supra-spinal responses. Anxiety-like behaviour using the openfield paradigm. Drug effect was measured after initial dose, 1 and 6 weeks of treatment. Preliminary results show that saline-treated SCC animals (N=10) have significantly lower MST with supra-spinal responses on the thorax compared to saline-treated shams (N=10), and gabapentin-treated SCC (N=10) and sham animals (N=10) throughout the study. The SCC animals had significantly decreased MST with reflex responses on the hindpaws in the two first time points compared with gabapentin-treated SCC animals (and both sham groups). There was no effect of injury on the MST with supra-spinal responses on the hindpaws and thus no effect of gabapentin. Furthermore, there was no significant decrease in the efficacy of gabapentin over the treatment period of 6 weeks. There was no effect of injury or treatment on mobility and anxiety-like behaviour as a result of gabapentin treatment. SCC result in persistent mechanical hypersensitivity on the thorax which is responsive to long term treatment with gabapentin, and that gabapentin continues to be effective in this model of CNP. Furthermore, SCC injury initially results in increased reflex responses in the hindpaws which are attenuated by acute and longterm gabapentin treatment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Neuropsychiatrica
Volume25
Issue1
Pages (from-to)18
Number of pages1
ISSN0924-2708
Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Research areas

  • gabapentin sodium chloride animal model neuropathic pain college psychopharmacology long term care reflex anxiety injury thorax pain model spinal cord hypersensitivity patient drug effect female exposure stimulation Sprague Dawley rat human contusion

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