Effect of NMDA NR2B antagonist on neuropathic pain in two spinal cord injury models

Youngkyung Kim, Hwi Young Cho, Young Ju Ahn, Junesun Kim, Young Wook Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


N-Methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are thought to play an important role in the processes of central sensitization and pathogenesis of neuropathic pain, particularly after spinal cord injury (SCI). NMDA antagonists effectively reduce neuropathic pain, but serious side effects prevent their use as therapeutic drugs. NMDA NR2B antagonists have been reported to effectively reduce inflammatory and neuropathic pain. In this study, we investigated the effects of NR2B antagonists on neuropathic pain and the expression of NR2B in the spinal cord in 2 SCI models. SCI was induced at T12 by a New York University impactor (contusion) or by sectioning of the lateral half of the spinal cord (hemisection). Ifenprodil (100, 200, 500, 1000 nmol) and Ro25-6981 (20, 50, 100, 200 nmol) were intrathecally injected and behavioral tests were conducted. Ifenprodil increased the paw withdrawal threshold in both models but also produced mild motor depression at higher doses. Ro25-6981 increased the mechanical nociceptive threshold in a dose-dependent manner without motor depression. NR2B expression was significantly increased on both sides at the spinal segments of L1-2 and L4-5 in the hemisection model but did not change in the contusion model. Increased expression of NR2B in the hemisection model was reduced by intrathecal ifenprodil. These results suggest that intrathecal NMDA NR2B antagonist increased the mechanical nociceptive threshold after SCI without motor depression. A selective subtype of NMDA receptor, such as NR2B, may be a more selective target for pain control because NMDA receptors play a crucial role in the development and maintenance of chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022-1029
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May


  • NR2B antagonists
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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