In the present study, chronic constrictive injury (CCI model) of the sciatic nerve or tight ligation of L5 and L6 spinal nerves (Chung model) produced both dynamic and static components of mechanical allodynia in rats. The two responses were detected, respectively, by lightly stroking the hind paw with cotton wool or application of pressure using von Frey hairs. Animals with spinal nerve ligation developed both types of responses at a faster rate compared to animals with the CCI. Morphine (1-3 mg/kg, s.c.) dose-dependently blocked static but not dynamic allodynia. In contrast, pregabalin (previously S-isobutylgaba and CI-1008) dose-dependently (3-30 mg/kg, p.o.) blocked both types of allodynia. In CCI animals, two administrations of capsaicin (100 microg/50 microl) into the plantar surface of the ipsilateral paw at 1-h intervals blocked the maintenance of thermal hyperalgesia without affecting either static or dynamic allodynia. The similar administration of a further two doses of capsaicin into the same animals blocked the maintenance of static allodynia without affecting the dynamic response. These data indicate that thermal hyperalgesia, static and dynamic allodynia are respectively signalled by C-, Adelta- and Abeta/capsaicin insensitive Adelta- primary sensory neurones. It is suggested that pregabalin possesses a superior antiallodynic profile than morphine and may represent a novel class of therapeutic agents for the treatment of neuropathic pain.