Adrenergic sensitivity of the sensory receptors modulating mechanical allodynia in a rat neuropathic pain model

Dong Eon Moon, Doo Hyun Lee, Hee Chul Han, Jiangang Xie, Richard E. Coggeshall, Jin Mo Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


This study focuses on changes in adrenergic sensitivity in untransected sensory axons that innervate an area of skin made neuropathic by transection of neighboring nerves. The segmental nerve injury model is favorable for this since all axons in the L5 and L6 nerves are transected whereas the L4 axons are intact. Earlier findings are that pain behaviors develop after this injury and that these beahviors are ameliorated by sympathectomy. The present study shows that behavior indicating mechanical allodynia can be rekindled after sympathectomy by intradermal norepinephrine and α-2 but not α-1 adrenergic ligands and the rekindling can be blocked by α-2 but not α-1 adrenergic antagonists. By contrast neither intradermal norepinephrine nor other adrenergic agonists or antagonists have any demonstrable effects in the normal or after either neuropathic surgery or sympathectomy alone. These data suggest that the combination of neuropathic surgery and sympathectomy results in an upregulation of active α-2 adrenergic receptors on the undamaged sensory axons that provide the remaining sensory innervation to a neuropathic area partially denervated by segmental nerve lesions. These changes on undamaged axons presumably compliment similar changes on the transected axons and, thus play a role in the development of neuropathic pain. Copyright (C) 1999 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-595
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Apr 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIH Grants NS 31680, NS 10161 and NS 11255.


  • Causalgia
  • Segmental spinal nerve
  • Sympathectomy
  • Sympathetically maintained pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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