To characterize various animal models of neuropathic pain, we compared three previously developed rat models using the same behavioral testing methods. These models involve: (1) chronic constriction injury by loose ligation of the sciatic nerve (CCI); (2) tight ligation of the partial sciatic nerve (PSL); and (3) tight ligation of spinal nerves (SNL). Comparisons were made for the time course of behavioral signs representing various components of neuropathic pain as well as for the effects of surgical sympathectomy. In general, all three methods of peripheral nerve injury produced behavioral signs of both ongoing and evoked pain with similar time courses. However, there was a considerable difference in the magnitude of each pain component between models. Signs of mechanical allodynia were largest in the SNL injury and smallest in the CCI model. On the other hand, behavioral signs representing ongoing pain were much more prominent in the CCI model than in the other two. Although the behavioral signs of neuropathic pain tended to decrease after sympathectomy in all three models, the change was most evident in the SNL model. The results of the present study suggest that the three rat models tested have contrasting features, yet all are useful neuropathic pain models, possibly representing different populations of human neuropathic pain patients.
- Mechanical allodynia
- Peripheral nerve injury
- Sympathetically maintained pain
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