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Brain Res. 1993 Jul 9;616(1-2):171-5.

Mechanical hyperalgesia in streptozotocin-diabetic rats is not sympathetically maintained.

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Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0452.


It has been suggested that the mechanism underlying the pain that occurs in patients with diabetic neuropathy may be similar to that mediating sympathetically maintained pain (SMP), such as occurs in patients with reflex sympathetic dystrophy. To evaluate this suggestion we have examined a model of diabetes mellitus, the streptozotocin-diabetic (STZ-D) rat, for features characteristic of SMP. We demonstrate that the decrease in nociceptive threshold observed in the STZ-D rat is not attenuated by chemical sympathectomy nor exacerbated by intradermal injection of norepinephrine (NE). In addition, the NE content is markedly decreased in the skin of the STZ-D rat. These results suggest that altered nociceptive thresholds associated with diabetic neuropathy are not sympathetically maintained.

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