Incomplete peripheral nerve injury often leads to neuropathic pains, some of which are relieved by sympathectomy, and results in sympathetic postganglionic nerve fiber sprouting in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG). This study was performed to see whether the sprouting in the DRG plays a key role in the sympathetic dependence of neuropathic pain. To this aim, we compared two groups of rats, both of which were subjected to unilateral transection of the inferior and superior caudal trunks at the levels between the S1 and S2, S2 and S3, and S3 and S4 spinal nerves, with respect to sympathetic fiber sprouting; one group showed neuropathic pain behaviours (i.e. mechanical and cold allodynia signs) which were very sensitive to phentolamine, alpha adrenergic blocker, and the other group exhibited no sensitivity. Immuno- histochemical staining with tyrosine hydroxylase antibody of the S1-S3 DRGs was not correlated with the sensitivity to phentolamine. These results suggest that the degree of sympathetic dependence of neuropathic pain is not a function of the extent of the sympathetic postganglionic nerve fiber sprouting in the DRG.
- Dorsal root ganglion
- Neuropathic pan
- Peripheral nerve injury
- Sympathetically maintained pain
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