Antinociceptive effect of ambroxol in rats with neuropathic spinal cord injury pain

Aldric T. Hama, Ann Woodhouse Plum, Jacqueline Sagen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Symptoms of neuropathic spinal cord injury (SCI) pain include evoked cutaneous hypersensitivity and spontaneous pain, which can be present below the level of the injury. Adverse side-effects obtained with currently available analgesics complicate effective pain management in SCI patients. Voltage-gated Na+ channels expressed in primary afferent nociceptors have been identified to mediate persistent hyperexcitability in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons, which in part underlies the symptoms of nerve injury-induced pain. Ambroxol has previously demonstrated antinociceptive effects in rat chronic pain models and has also shown to potently block Na+ channel current in DRG neurons. Ambroxol was tested in rats that underwent a mid-thoracic spinal cord compression injury. Injured rats demonstrated robust hind paw (below-level) heat and mechanical hypersensitivity. Orally administered ambroxol significantly attenuated below-level hypersensitivity at doses that did not affect performance on the rotarod test. Intrathecal injection of ambroxol did not ameliorate below-level hypersensitivity. The current data suggest that ambroxol could be effective for clinical neuropathic SCI pain. Furthermore, the data suggest that peripherally expressed Na+ channels could lend themselves as targets for the development of pharmacotherapies for SCI pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-255
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Allodynia
  • Hyperalgesia
  • Local anesthetic
  • Mucolytic
  • Off-label use
  • Voltage-gated Na channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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