Neurotrophins from dorsal root ganglia trigger allodynia after spinal nerve injury in rats


: Dr X.-F. Zhou, as above.


Injury to peripheral nerves often results in chronic pain which is difficult to relieve. The mechanism underlying the pain syndrome remains largely unknown. In previous studies we showed that neurotrophins are up-regulated in satellite cells around sensory neurons following sciatic nerve lesion. In the present study, we have examined whether the neurotrophins in the dorsal root ganglia play any role in allodynia after nerve injury. Antibodies to different neurotrophins, directly delivered to injured dorsal root ganglia, significantly reduced (with different time sequences) the percentage of foot withdrawal responses evoked by von Frey hairs. The antibodies to nerve growth factor acted during the early phase but antibodies to neurotrophin-3 and brain-derived neurotrophic factor were effective during the later phase. Exogenous nerve growth factor or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, but not neurotrophin-3, directly delivered to intact dorsal root ganglia, trigger a persistent mechanical allodynia. Our results showed that neurotrophins within the dorsal root ganglia after peripheral nerve lesion are involved in the generation of allodynia at different stages. These studies provide the first evidence that ganglia-derived neurotrophins are a source of nociceptive stimuli for neuropathic pain after peripheral nerve injury.