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Pain. 2011 Mar;152(3):557-65. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2010.11.021. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Enduring prevention and transient reduction of postoperative pain by intrathecal resolvin D1.

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  • 1Pain Research Center, Department of Anesthesia, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.


Postoperative pain slows surgical recovery, impacting the return of normal function for weeks, months, or longer. Here we report the antihyperalgesic actions of a new compound, resolvin D1 (RvD1), known to reduce inflammation and to suppress pain after peripheral nerve injury, on the acute pain occurring after paw incision and the prolonged pain after skin-muscle retraction. Injection of RvD1 (20-40ng) into the L5-L6 intrathecal space 30minutes before surgery reduces the postincisional primary mechanical hypersensitivity, lowering the peak change by approximately 70% (with 40ng) and reducing the area under the curve (AUC) for the entire 10-day postincisional course by approximately 60%. Intrathecal injection of RvD1 on postoperative day (POD) 1 reduces the hyperalgesia to the same level as that from preoperative injection within a few hours, an effect that persists for the remaining PODs. Tactile allodynia and hyperalgesia following the skin/muscle incision retraction procedure, measured at the maximum values 12 to 14days, is totally prevented by intrathecal RvD1 (40ng) given at POD 2. However, delaying the injection until POD 9 or POD 17 results in RvD1 causing only transient and incomplete reversal of hyperalgesia, lasting for <1day. These findings demonstrate the potent, effective reduction of postoperative pain by intrathecal RvD1 given before or shortly after surgery. The much more limited effect of this compound on retraction-induced pain, when given 1 to 2weeks later, suggests that the receptors or pathways for resolvins are more important in the early than the later stages of postoperative pain. Single intrathecal injections of resolvin D1 in rats before or 1 to 2days after surgery strongly reduce postoperative pain for several weeks.

Copyright © 2010 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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