Post-operative pain behavior in rats is reduced after single high-concentration capsaicin application

Pain. 2006 Dec 5;125(3):233-243. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2006.05.021. Epub 2006 Jun 22.


Surgical procedures associated with tissue injury are often followed by increased sensitivity to innocuous and noxious stimuli in the vicinity of the surgical wound. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 receptor (TRPV1) containing nociceptors in this process, by their functional inactivation using a high-concentration intradermal injection of capsaicin in a rat plantar incision model. Paw withdrawal responses to mechanical stimuli (von Frey filaments 10-367mN) and to radiant heat applied on plantar skin were tested in animals treated with capsaicin or the vehicle 6 days and 24h before or 2h after the incision was made. In the vehicle-treated animals, mechanical and thermal sensitivity increased significantly 1-96h following the incision. Capsaicin applied 24h before the surgery was most effective and significantly diminished the development of post-incisional mechanical allodynia and hyperalgesia. Thermal hypoalgesia was present in the incised paw after the capsaicin treatment. Capsaicin application 6 days before the incision induced thermal hypoalgesia before the incision but did not prevent completely the thermal hyperalgesia after the incision, while there was also a reduction of mechanical hypersensitivity. Application of the capsaicin injection after the incision showed its first effect at 2h after the injection and at 24h the effect was comparable with the 6 days pretreatment. Our results show an important role of TRPV1-containing nociceptors in the development of post-surgical hypersensitivity and suggest that local, high-concentration capsaicin treatment could be used to reduce it.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Capsaicin / administration & dosage*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Male
  • Nociceptors / drug effects
  • Nociceptors / metabolism*
  • Pain Measurement / drug effects*
  • Pain Threshold / drug effects*
  • Pain, Postoperative / metabolism*
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • TRPV Cation Channels / metabolism*


  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • TRPV1 receptor
  • Capsaicin