Rodent model of chronic central pain after spinal cord contusion injury and effects of gabapentin

C. E. Hulsebosch, G. Y. Xu, J. R. Perez-Polo, K. N. Westlund, C. P. Taylor, D. J. McAdoo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    136 Scopus citations


    Spinal cord injury (SCI) often results in abnormal pain syndromes in patients. We present a recently developed SCI mammalian model of chronic central pain in which the spinal cord is contused at T8 using the NYU impactor device (10-g rod, 2.0-mm diameter, 12.5-mm drop height), an injury which is characterized behaviorally as moderate. Recovery of locomotor function was assessed with an open field test and scored using the open field test scale (BBB scale). Somatosensory tests of paw withdrawal responses accompanied by supraspinal responses to both mechanical punctate (von Frey hairs) and nonpunctate (4 mm diameter blunt probe) as well as thermal (radiant heat) peripheral stimuli were performed. Comparisons at the level of the individual animal between precontusion and postcontusion responses indicated significant increases in reactions to low threshold punctate mechanical stimuli, non-punctate stimuli and thermal stimuli (p > 0.05). To demonstrate the validity of this model as a central pain model, gabapentin, an agent used clinically for central pain, was given i.p. at 10 or 30 mg/kg. Gabapentin treatment significantly and reversibly changed the responses, consistent with the attenuation of the abnormal sensory behavior, and the attenuated responses lasted for the duration of the drug effect (up to 6 h). These results support the use of the spinal contusion model in the study of chronic central pain after SCI.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1205-1217
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of neurotrauma
    Issue number12
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


    • Allodynia
    • Behavior
    • Chronic pain
    • Pain
    • Spinal cord injury

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Neurology


    Dive into the research topics of 'Rodent model of chronic central pain after spinal cord contusion injury and effects of gabapentin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this