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Brain Res. 1991 Jul 12;553(2):327-30.

MK-801 blocks the development of thermal hyperalgesia in a rat model of experimental painful neuropathy.

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Pain Physiology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown 02129.


Loose ligation of the sciatic nerve in the rat can produce behavioral signs of hyperalgesia in the hindpaw. This study examined the effect of an NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor antagonist (MK-801) on the development of hyperalgesia in this model. Rats received i.p. injections of saline or MK-801 (1.0 mg/kg) prior to and then for 7 days after a unilateral sciatic nerve ligation. Testing of each hindpaw for latency to withdrawal from a standardized thermal stimulus was performed prior to ligation and then at 10, 12, 17, 27, and 37 days postoperatively. Hyperalgesia of the operated hindpaw developed in saline-treated animals as measured by a decrease in withdrawal latency. Hyperalgesia did not develop in animals treated with MK-801. MK-801 may therefore prevent the development of hyperalgesia following experimental nerve injury, possibly through an NMDA receptor-mediated effect.

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