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Chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve results in persistent mechanical hyperalgesia together with Fos protein expression in the lumbar spinal cord. We have examined the relationship between mechanical hyperalgesia and Fos expression within the lumbar spinal cord on days 14, 35 and 55 after either CCI or sham operation. To determine the role of NMDA receptor mechanisms in the maintenance of hyperalgesia and Fos expression, the NMDA antagonist MK-801 (0.3 mg kg-1 s.c.) was administered daily on days 28 to 34 after operation. CCI animals developed unilateral hind limb hyperalgesia that persisted unchanged from days 14 to 55 of the study. MK-801 treatment reduced hyperalgesia by 57% (p=0.02) on day 35 in CCI animals but did influence hyperalgesia at day 55. In the spinal cord, Fos positive cells were present bilaterally throughout laminae 3-10 at all time points examined in both CCI and sham group animals. Fos counts ipsilateral to the side of injury in laminae 3-10 correlated significantly with hyperalgesia scores in the CCI but not sham animals. MK-801 treatment resulted in a suppression of Fos expression in ipsilateral laminae 3-4 (p=0.0017) and laminae 5-10 (p=0.0026) of CCI animals on day 35. Fos expression in sham group animals was not inhibited by MK-801 treatment at day 35. These results indicate that Fos expression is maintained by differing mechanisms following nerve injury or sham operation. The functional consequences of Fos expression following nerve injury and sham operation are discussed.


Journal article


Brain Res

Publication Date





220 - 227


Animals, Behavior, Animal, Chronic Disease, Disease Models, Animal, Dizocilpine Maleate, Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists, Genes, Immediate-Early, 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