Effects of sympathectomy on a rat model of peripheral neuropathy

Ho Kim Sun Ho Kim, Sik Na Heung Sik Na, Sheen Kwangsup, Mo Chung Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to determine the effects of sympathectomy on our previously developed animal model for neuropathic pain. The neuropathy was produced by a unilateral tight ligation of the L5 and L6 spinal nerves in 81 rats, all of which showed a marked increase in frequency of paw lifting in response to innocuous mechanical stimuli and a shortened latency of paw withdrawal in response to noxious radiant heat stimuli on the affected limb. We interpreted these as behavioral signs of mechanical allodynia and heat hyperalgesia. Surgical sympathectomy was performed by removing the sympathetic chain bilaterally from the L2 to L6 levels at 1 week prior to and 1, 3 and 5 weeks after nerve injury. In addition, the effect of sympathetic block was tested by systemically injecting guanethidine or phentolamine. Surgical sympathectomy relieved the signs of both mechanical allodynia and heat hyperalgesia. The effect of sympathectomy for mechanical allodynia is estimated to be almost fully expressed within 30 min after the operation. Sympathetic block by chemical agents reversibly relieved the mechanical allodynia. These data suggest that the rats in our model exhibit behavioral signs of neuropathic pain that are sympathetically maintained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1993 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supportedb y NIH Grants NS 21266 and NS 11255,t he John Sealy Memorial Endowment Fund and a grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. H.S. Na was supported in part by the Kil Chung Hee Fellowship Fund. We wish to thank M.L. Watson for editorial help.


  • Allodynia
  • Causalgia
  • Guanethidine
  • Hyperalgesia
  • Pain
  • Peripheral nerve injury
  • Phentolamine
  • Sympathetic chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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