Influence of postoperative analgesics on the development of neuropathic pain in rats

Laike St A. Stewart, William J. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Rodent models of neuropathic pain require extensive tissue manipulation to induce the lesion of interest which results in inflammation and postoperative pain that is unrelated to nerve injury per se. We sought to determine whether acute postoperative pain management affects the development of hallmark signs of neuropathic pain. Analgesic regimens (q 24 h × 3 days) were buprenorphine (0.05 and 0.1 mg/kg of body weight, s.c.), flunixin meglumine (1.1 and 2.5 mg/kg, s.c.), and fentanyl citrate (0.01 and 0.1 mg/kg, i.p.). The spared nerve injury model of neuropathic pain was used, and mechanical and cold allodynia as well as body weight gain were measured for 28 days. Buprenorphine and fentanyl alleviated mechanical sensitivity and prevented weight loss associated with the surgery (0 to 3 days), but opioid-related adverse effects were observed. Flunixin reduced wound inflammation and improved weight gain, but had no effect on nociceptive thresholds. Cold allodynia was unaltered by any treatment. By postoperative day 7, control and treatment groups did not differ with respect to weight gain or nociceptive thresholds. Our findings suggest that postsurgical inflammation and pain behavior can be ameliorated without substantially altering the long-term development of neuropathic pain, provided that the selection of agent(s) and treatment regimen(s) is appropriate and the neuropathic pain of interest is evaluated seven days after surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • veterinary(all)


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