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Neurosci Lett. 1999 Jul 9;269(2):103-6.

Is sympathetic sprouting in the dorsal root ganglia responsible for the production of neuropathic pain in a rat model?

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  • 1Neuroscience Research Institute, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.


Partial peripheral nerve injury often results in neuropathic pain that is aggravated by sympathetic excitation and induces sympathetic nerve sprouting in both the injured nerve and corresponding dorsal root ganglia (DRGs). Presently, the functional mechanisms of the interactions between the sprouting and injured somatic afferents remain uncertain. This study was performed to see whether the sprouting in the DRGs plays a key role in the development of neuropathic pain. To this aim, we compared two groups of rats, both of which were subjected to unilateral transection of the superior and inferior caudal trunks at the level between the S1 and S2 spinal nerves, with respect to sympathetic fiber sprouting; one group showed well-developed neuropathic pain behaviors (i.e. mechanical, cold and warm allodynia signs) and the other group showed poorly-developed ones. Immuno-histochemical staining with tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) antibody of the injured S1 DRG taken from both groups of rats after behavioral tests revealed that the magnitude of penetration of TH-positive fibers into the S1 DRG was not significantly different between the two groups. These results suggest that sympathetic nerve sprouting in the injured DRG is not a key factor in the development of neuropathic pain.

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