Etanercept reduces hyperalgesia in experimental painful neuropathy


Address correspondence to: Dr. Claudia Sommer, Neurologische Klinik der Universität, Josef-Schneider-Str. 11, 97080 Würzburg, Germany. Tel: +49 931 201 2621; Fax: +49 931 201 2697; E-mail:


Abstract  Etanercept, a recombinant tumor necrosis factor receptor (p75)-Fc fusion protein competitively inhibits tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF). Etanercept has been successfully used in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, where it reduces pain and inflammation. Because locally produced proinflammatory cytokines play a role in pain after nerve injury, we investigated whether etanercept can reduce pain and hyperalgesia in an animal model of painful neuropathy, the chronic constriction injury of the sciatic nerve. C57BL/6 mice received etanercept or sham treatment by local near-nerve injection to the injured nerve or by systemic application. Treatment with etanercept reduced thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia significantly in both modes of application. The effect of etanercept was present in animals that were treated from the time of surgery and in those that were treated from day 6, when hyperalgesia was already present. These results suggest the potential of etanercept as a treatment option for patients with neuropathic pain.