Injured afferent neurons produce spontaneous activity that is generated away from the normal impulse generation site. Since this activity, referred to as ectopic discharges, may play a significant role in neuropathic pain, it is important to systematically analyze the activity in various pain states. The present study used the segmental spinal nerve injury model of neuropathic pain to quantify the ectopic discharges from injured afferents in the neuropathic rat under various conditions. All aspects of measured ectopic discharges declined as postoperative time lengthened. Neuropathic pain behaviors declined in a similar fashion over the same time period. Surgical sympathectomy on neuropathic animals lowered the level of ectopic discharges along with neuropathic pain behaviors. The data indicate that the level of ectopic discharges is well correlated with that of pain behaviors in a rat neuropathic pain model, and this reinforces the supposition that ectopic discharges are important to the maintenance of neuropathic pain behaviors. The data suggest that there are two components of ectopic discharge generator mechanisms: sympathetically dependent and sympathetically independent components. Copyright (C) 2000 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier Science B.V.
- Central sensitization
- Dorsal root ganglion
- Ectopic discharges
- Sympathetically maintained pain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine