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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2009 Dec;94(2):234-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2009.08.012. Epub 2009 Sep 2.

Central origin of the antinociceptive action of botulinum toxin type A.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Zagreb School of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia.


Here we provide behavioural evidence for an axonal transport and the central origin of the antinociceptive effect of botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A). In rats we investigated the effectiveness of BTX-A on "mirror pain" induced by unilateral repeated intramuscular acidic saline injections (pH 4.0). Since experimental evidence suggest that bilateral pain induced by acidic saline is of central origin, peripheral application of BTX-A should have no effect on this type of pain. However, here we demonstrated that the unilateral subcutaneous BTX-A (5U/kg) application diminished pain on the ipsilateral, and on the contralateral side too. When injected into the proximal part of a distally cut sciatic nerve, BTX-A still reduced pain on the contralateral side. Colchicine, an axonal transport blocker, when injected into the ipsilateral sciatic nerve, prevented the effect of the peripheral BTX-A injection on both sides. Additionally, when BTX-A (1U/kg) was applied intrathecally in the lumbar cerebrospinal fluid, the bilateral hyperalgesia was also reduced. The results demonstrate the necessity of retrograde axonal transport and involvement of the central nervous system for the antinociceptive activity of BTX-A.

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