Increased nitric oxide synthase immunoreactivity in rat dorsal root ganglia in a neuropathic pain model

Jennifer H. Steel, Giorgio Terenghi, Jin Mo Chung, Heung Sik Na, Susan M. Carlton, Julia M. Polak

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In rats, tight ligation of L5 and L6 spinal nerves produces symptoms of thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia, mimicking the symptoms which characterise painful peripheral neuropathies in humans. Immunoreactivity for nitric oxide synthase (NOS) was investigated in lumbar (L1, L4, L5 and L6) dorsal root ganglia from naive controls and from rats surviving for 3, 7, and 14 days after unilateral ligation of the L5 and L6 spinal nerves. Quantitative analysis revealed significant increases in the percentage of NOS-immunoreactive cell profiles in L5 and L6 ganglia on the operated side at all time points, with the number of labelled profiles increasing with time following ligation, but L1 and L4 ganglia were unaffected. These findings suggest that nitric oxide may have a role in the generation and/or maintenance of neuropathic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-84
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 14 1994



  • Dorsal root ganglion
  • Nerve ligation
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Quantitative immunocytochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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