Attenuation of mechanical hyperalgesia following spinal cord injury by administration of antibodies to nerve growth factor in the rat

Neurosci Lett. 2003 Jan 16;336(2):117-20. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(02)01251-x.


Spinal cord injury (SCI) often leads to central pain syndrome including hyperalgesia to mechanical stimulation. Since there is evidence that nerve growth factor (NGF) contributes to pain-related behaviors, we wished to determine if anti-NGF might inhibit abnormal somatosensory behaviors that develop following SCI in rats. SCI was performed in male Sprague-Dawley rats by T13 spinal hemisection. After spinal hemisection, animals were untreated or treated daily with anti-NGF or saline intraperitoneally for 10 days. In groups of both hemisection only and hemisection with saline treatment, mechanical hyperalgesia developed in both hindlimbs, as evidenced by a decrease in paw withdrawal thresholds. Mechanical responsiveness of wide dynamic range (WDR) neurons on both sides of spinal cord also increased. The anti-NGF treated group demonstrated significant suppression of both mechanical hyperalgesia and increased WDR neuronal responsiveness. These results indicate that anti-NGF prevents the development of abnormal somatosensory behavior and suggest a potential pre-emptive analgesic treatment for central pain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Hindlimb / physiopathology
  • Hyperalgesia / drug therapy*
  • Hyperalgesia / etiology*
  • Hyperalgesia / physiopathology
  • Nerve Growth Factors / immunology
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Posterior Horn Cells / drug effects
  • Posterior Horn Cells / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reference Values
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Thoracic Vertebrae
  • Touch*


  • Antibodies
  • Nerve Growth Factors