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Pain. 1997 Jun;71(2):157-64.

Blockade of calcium channels can prevent the onset of secondary hyperalgesia and allodynia induced by intradermal injection of capsaicin in rats.

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Physical Therapy Graduate Program, College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242, USA.


Intradermal capsaicin injection in humans results in primary hyperalgesia to heat and mechanical stimuli applied near the injection site, as well as secondary mechanical hyperalgesia (increased pain from noxious stimuli) and mechanical allodynia (pain from innocuous stimuli) in an area surrounding the site of primary hyperalgesia. This study in rats tested the hypothesis that the secondary hyperalgesia and allodynia observed following intradermal injection of capsaicin was dependent upon activation of voltage sensitive calcium channels in the spinal cord. Responses to application of von Frey filaments of 10 mN and 90 mN bending forces were tested in all rats before and after injection of capsaicin into the plantar surface of a hindpaw. Animals were pretreated with L-type (nifedipine), N-type (omega-conotoxin GVIA) or P-type (omega-agatoxin IVA) calcium channels blockers through a microdialysis fiber implanted in the spinal dorsal horn prior to the injection of capsaicin. None of the calcium channel blockers had any affect on normal sensory or motor responses. However, all three blockers dose dependently prevented the development of secondary mechanical hyperalgesia and allodynia. The threshold to mechanical stimulation with von Frey filaments was also increased significantly in animals treated with these calcium channel blockers when compared to articial cerebrospinal fluid control animals. These data suggest that calcium channels are important for the development of mechanical hyperalgesia and allodynia that occurs following capsaicin injection.

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