Zinc has recently been shown to alleviate inflammatory hyperalgesia. In the present study, we showed that intrathecal, intraplantar or systemic injection of zinc chloride significantly relieved thermal hyperalgesia in rats with sciatic nerve injury. Alleviation of thermal hyperalgesia was dose dependent in each case, although higher doses were required for i.p. injections (ED50 = 13.6 nmole) than for intrathecal (ED50 = 0.05 nmole) or intraplantar injections (ED50 = 0.3 nmole). Neither intrathecal nor intraplantar zinc chloride influenced thermal nociception in normal rats without nerve injury. The results provide the first evidence that zinc alleviates neuropathic hyperalgesia.