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Neuroscience. 2006 Oct 27;142(3):809-22. Epub 2006 Aug 2.

Robust increase of cutaneous sensitivity, cytokine production and sympathetic sprouting in rats with localized inflammatory irritation of the spinal ganglia.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 231 Albert Sabin Way, P.O. Box 670531, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0531, USA.


We investigated the role and mechanisms of inflammatory responses within the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) in the development of chemogenic pathological pain. DRG inflammation was induced by a single deposit of the immune activator zymosan in incomplete Freund's adjuvant in the epidural space near the L5 DRG via a small hole drilled through the transverse process. After a single zymosan injection, rats developed bilateral mechanical hyperalgesia and allodynia which began by day 1 after surgery, peaked at days 3-7, and lasted up to 28 days. The number of macrophages in ipsilateral and contralateral DRGs increased significantly, lasting over 14 days. Robust glial activation was observed in inflamed ganglia. Cytokine profile analysis using a multiplexing protein array system showed that, in normal DRG, all but interleukin (IL)-5, IL-10 and granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) were detectable with concentrations of up to 180 pg/mg protein. Local inflammatory irritation selectively increased IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-18, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and growth-related oncogene (GRO/KC) up to 17-fold, and decreased IL-2 and IL-12 (p70) up to threefold. Inflaming the DRG also remarkably increased the incidence of spontaneous activity of A- and C-fibers recorded in the dorsal root. Many of the spontaneously active A-fibers exhibited a short-bursting discharge pattern. Changes in cytokines and spontaneous activity correlated with the time course of pain behaviors, especially light stroke-evoked tactile allodynia. Finally, local inflammation induced extensive sprouting of sympathetic fibers, extending from vascular processes within the inflamed DRG. These results demonstrate the feasibility of inducing chronic localized inflammatory responses in the DRG in the absence of traumatic nerve damage, and highlight the possible contribution of several inflammatory cytokines/chemokines to the generation of spontaneous activity and development and persistence of chemogenic pathologic pain.

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