Agmatine is a polycationic amine synthesized from L-arginine by arginine decarboxylase in brain and several tissues. It binds to N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subtype of glutamatergic, alpha(2)-adrenergic and imidazoline (I) receptors. The present study was designed to investigate effect of agmatine on acute and mononeuropathic pain after chronic constriction injury (CCI). CCI was created by four loose ligations around the right sciatic nerve. The analgesic threshold in rats was evaluated by using thermal hyperalgesia/allodynia (THA) at 4 degrees C. The evaluations were made preoperatively, on postoperative day 15, and after drug administration. Agmatine (10, 20, 40, 80, and 100 mg/kg) was administered intraperitoneally for 5 days beginning on postoperative day 15. Agmatine significantly reduced the hyperalgesia in all doses applied. When agmatine was injected intraperitoneally (10, 20, 40, 80, and 100 mg/kg), it increased the nociceptive threshold in the tail-immersion test in a dose-dependent manner, but it had no effect in the hot-plate test. This effect of agmatine in the tail-immersion test was blocked by both yohimbine (1 mg/kg) and idazoxan (0.5 mg/kg). When agmatine was administered intracerebroventricularly (25-200 microg/10 microL), it increased the nociceptive threshold in the hot-plate but not in the tail-immersion test. We conclude that agmatine, an endogenous substance derived from arginine, can modulate both acute and chronic pain.