Models of Neuropathic Pain in the Rat

Gary J. Bennett1, Jin Mo Chung2, Marie Honore (Table 5.32.2)3, Ze'ev Seltzer4

1 McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, 2 Marine Biomedical Institute, Galveston, Texas, 3 Abbott Laborotories, Abbott Park, Illinois, 4 University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Pharmacology
Unit Number:  Unit 5.32
DOI:  10.1002/0471141755.ph0532s21
Online Posting Date:  July, 2003
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Peripheral nerve injury due to trauma, disease, and certain toxins sometimes produces abnormal (neuropathic) pain syndromes that are chronic and refractory to standard analgesics. Knowledge of the mechanisms that produce neuropathic pain and the ability to search for new drugs to control it have been greatly advanced by the introduction of rat models of post‐traumatic painful peripheral neuropathy. There are currently three models of neuropathic pain in the rat that are widely used. The procedures to create these models and the behavioral assays used to quantify the resulting neuropathic pain symptoms are described in this unit: the chronic constriction injury (CCI) model, the partial sciatic ligation (PSL) model, and the spinal nerve ligation (SNL) model. Four kinds of abnormal pain sensations are commonly measured to assess the outcome: heat‐hyperalgesia, mechano‐hyperalgesia, mechano‐allodynia, and cold‐allodynia.

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Table of Contents

  • Basic Protocol 1: The Chronic Constriction Injury (CCI) Model of Neuropathic Pain
  • Basic Protocol 2: The Partial Sciatic (PSL) Model of Neuropathic Pain
  • Basic Protocol 3: The Spinal Nerve Ligation (SNL) Model of Neuropathic Pain
  • Support Protocol 1: Behavioral Assays: Heat‐Hyperalgesia
  • Support Protocol 2: Behavior Assays: Mechano‐Hyperalgesia
  • Support Protocol 3: Behavioral Assays: Mechano‐Allodynia
  • Support Protocol 4: Behavioral Assays: Cold Allodynia
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
  • Tables
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Basic Protocol 1: The Chronic Constriction Injury (CCI) Model of Neuropathic Pain

  • Saline, sterile
  • Adult male rats (e.g., Sprague‐Dawley; see Critical Parameters for animal considerations)
  • Anesthetic (e.g., sodium pentobarbital; see Critical Parameters for anesthesia considerations)
  • Topical disinfectant (e.g., Betadine)
  • Rat chow (e.g., phytoestrogen‐free rat chow, see Critical Parameters for diet considerations)
  • 4‐0 chromic gut suture
  • Animal clippers
  • Animal heating pad
  • ∼4‐cm diameter rod (e.g., rolled‐up paper toweling or gauze)
  • Scalpel
  • Rat‐toothed forceps
  • Blunt‐tipped scissors
  • Dissecting microscope
  • No. 5 jeweler's forceps
  • Microscissors
  • Blunt‐tipped curved forceps
  • Sutures to close surgical incision
  • Cages with solid floors and soft bedding (e.g., sawdust as opposed to corn cobs or coarse wood chips)

Basic Protocol 2: The Partial Sciatic (PSL) Model of Neuropathic Pain

  • Ophthalmic needle with attached suture (⅜ curved, reversed‐cutting mini‐needle attached to 8‐0 silicone‐treated silk)

Basic Protocol 3: The Spinal Nerve Ligation (SNL) Model of Neuropathic Pain

  • Small rongeur (e.g., 2 mm jaw‐width)
  • 6‐0 silk suture
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Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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