Injury of Muscular but not Cutaneous Nerve Drives Acute Neuropathic Pain in Rats

Jie Zhu 1,2 • Zhiyong Chen 1,3,4 • Yehong Fang 1,3 • Wanru Duan 5 • Yikuan Xie 1 • Chao Ma 1,3

Department of Human Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience Center, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, School of Basic Medicine, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100005, China

2 Department of Radiation Oncology, Sichuan Cancer Hospital and Institute, Sichuan Cancer Center, School of Medicine, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610054, China

3 Joint Laboratory of Anesthesia and Pain, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100730, China

4 Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA

5 Department of Neurosurgery, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100053, China


Acute pain is a common complication after injury of a peripheral nerve but the underlying mechanism is obscure. We established a model of acute neuropathic pain via pulling a pre-implanted suture loop to transect a peripheral nerve in awake rats. The tibial (both muscular and cutaneous), gastrocnemius–soleus (muscular only), and sural nerves (cutaneous only) were each transected. Transection of the tibial and gastrocnemius–soleus nerves, but not the sural nerve immediately evoked spontaneous pain and mechanical allodynia in the skin territories innervated by the adjacent intact nerves. Evans blue extravasation and cutaneous temperature of the intact skin territory were also significantly increased. In vivo electrophysiological recordings revealed that injury of a muscular nerve induced mechanical hypersensitivity and spontaneous activity in the nociceptive C-neurons in adjacent intact nerves. Our results indicate that injury of a muscular nerve, but not a cutaneous nerve, drives acute neuropathic pain.


Muscular nerve; Cutaneous nerve; Acute neuropathic pain


Browse: 1