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Behav Pharmacol. 2019 Feb;30(1):79-88. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000422.

Anti-NGF treatment can reduce chronic neuropathic pain by changing peripheral mediators and brain activity in rats.

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Department of Neural and Pain Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA.
Department of Anatomy, Institute of Biomedical Science-III, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Neuropathic pain is driven by abnormal peripheral and central processing, and treatments are insufficiently effective. Antibodies against nerve growth factor (anti-NGF) have been investigated as a potent analgesic treatment for numerous conditions. However, the peripheral and brain effects of anti-NGF in neuropathic pain remain unknown. We examined the effectiveness of anti-NGF in reducing chronic pain by local administration in a rat model of sciatic constriction injury (CCI). NGF and substance P in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and spinal cord were evaluated. Neuronal activation was measured using c-Fos in the anterior cingulate cortex and ventrolateral periaqueductal gray. At 14 days after CCI, anti-NGF promoted a significant dose-dependent improvement in mechanical threshold, thermal withdrawal latency, and cold sensitivity, lasting for 5 h. NGF upregulation in the DRG and spinal cord after CCI was decreased by anti-NGF, while substance P was increased only in the DRG, and the treatment reduced it. Anti-NGF induced a significant reduction of neuronal activation in the anterior cingulate cortex, but not in the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray. This study provides the first evidence of the anti-NGF effects on brain activity. Thus, our findings suggest that anti-NGF improves chronic neuropathic pain, acting directly on peripheral sensitization and indirectly on central sensitization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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