Background and Objectives Spinal gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors have been shown to modulate post-nerve injury-induced allodynia. This study sought to examine the antiallodynic effects of a GABA analog gabapentin [1-(aminomethyl)cyclohexaneacetic acid], given by subarachnoid injection in a rat neuropathic pain model.
Methods The rats were prepared with lumbar subarachnoid catheters, and allodynia was induced in rats by ligation of the L5-6 nerve roots (Chung model).
Results Spinal injection of gabapentin resulted in a dose-dependent (10-1,000 μg) antagonism of the allodynia at doses that had no detectable effect on motor function. Subarachnoid injection of either the GABA A antagonist bicuculline (0.3 μg), or the GABA B antagonist CGP 35348 (30 μg) 5 minutes before or 60 minutes after injection of GABA receptor agonist did not reverse the antiallodynic effects produced by gabapentin.
Conclusions Gabapentin shows antiallodynic effect, but its mechanism is not known. The failure to reverse this effect by GABA A or B antagonists at doses that reverse the effects of the respective agonists suggests that gabapentin is involved in the modulation of spinal systems by mechanisms that do not involve either a GABA A or a GABA B site.
- neuropathic pain
- Chung model
- gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor
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Work was performed in the Anesthesiology Research Laboratory in the Clinical Teaching Facility at the University of California, San Diego Medical Center.
Supported by grant DA 02110 to T.L. Yaksh.