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The unilateral sciatic nerve chronic constriction injury (CCI) model of Bennett and Xie [G.J. Bennett, Y.-K. Xie, A peripheral neuropathy in rat that produces disorders of pain sensation like those seen in man, Pain, 33 (1988) 87-108] shows features of a neuropathic pain state. We examined mechanical hyperalgesia and Fos protein staining in the lumbar spinal cord 1, 7, 14 and 28 days after unilateral CCI to the sciatic nerve or sham operation. In addition, we examined the effect of the NMDA antagonist MK-801 (0.3 mg/kg s.c. administered 30 min prior to and 6 h following operation) on Fos expression and hyperalgesia at 28 days. CCI animals were hyperalgesic compared to the sham operated animals at 14 and 28 days post injury. MK-801 reduced hyperalgesia by 68% in CCI animals on day 28 (p=0.0001). In the spinal cord, Fos positive cells were present bilaterally in deeper laminae in both sham and CCI animals at all time points examined. Relatively few Fos positive cells were present in laminae 1-2 at any time point examined. At days 1 and 7, there were increased numbers of Fos positive cells ipsilaterally in the deeper laminae of the spinal cord in CCI animals compared to sham animals, but by 14 and 28 days Fos counts were similar in sham and CCI despite the obvious behavioural differences between the two groups. Fos counts ipsilateral to the injury in laminae 3-10 correlated with hyperalgesia scores in the CCI but not sham animals. Analysis at the 28-day time point showed that MK-801 differentially affected Fos expression: MK-801 significantly reduced the Fos count bilaterally in laminae 3-10 in the CCI but not in the sham group animals. These results indicate that Fos expression is initiated by different peripheral and central mechanisms following nerve injury or sham operation.


Journal article


Brain Res

Publication Date





210 - 219


Animals, Behavior, Animal, Chronic Disease, Dizocilpine Maleate, Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists, Hyperalgesia, Male, Nerve Compression Syndromes, Neuralgia, Peripheral Nerve Injuries, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos, Rats, Rats, Inbred Strains, Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate, Spinal Cord