Pregabalin reduces muscle and cutaneous hyperalgesia in two models of chronic muscle pain in rats

J Pain. 2007 May;8(5):422-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2006.11.007. Epub 2007 Feb 9.


Pregabalin is used for treatment of neuropathic pain conditions. The present study evaluated effects of pregabalin in 2 rat models of muscle-induced hyperalgesia: Inflammatory and noninflammatory. Muscle hyperalgesia (withdrawal threshold to compression of the muscle) and cutaneous hyperalgesia of the paw (withdrawal threshold to von Frey filaments) were measured before and after induction of hyperalgesia and after treatment with pregabalin (saline, 10 to 100 mg/kg i.p.). In the inflammatory model, 3% carrageenan injected into 1 gastrocnemius muscle decreased the mechanical withdrawal threshold of the paw bilaterally and the compression withdrawal threshold of the muscle ipsilaterally 2 weeks later. Pregabalin (10 to 100 mg/kg) increased the compression withdrawal threshold of the inflamed muscle when compared with vehicle controls. Pregabalin also increased the mechanical withdrawal threshold of the paw bilaterally, but only with 100 mg/kg. In the noninflammatory model, 2 unilateral injections of acidic saline into the gastrocnemius muscle produced bilateral cutaneous and muscle hyperalgesia 24 hours after the second injection. Pregabalin (10 to 100 mg/kg i.p.) significantly increased the compression withdrawal thresholds of the muscle and the mechanical withdrawal threshold of the paw bilaterally when compared with vehicle. However, pregabalin also has significant motor effects at the higher doses (60 to 100 mg/kg). Therefore, pregabalin reduces both muscle and cutaneous hyperalgesia that occurs after muscle insult in 2 animal models of muscle pain at doses that do not produce ataxia.

Perspective: This study shows that pregabalin reduces both cutaneous and muscle hyperalgesia in inflammatory and noninflammatory models of muscle pain. Thus, pregabalin may be an effective treatment for people with chronic muscle pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Carrageenan
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Functional Laterality
  • Hyperalgesia / drug therapy*
  • Hyperalgesia / etiology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscular Diseases / complications
  • Pain / chemically induced
  • Pain / complications*
  • Pain Threshold / drug effects
  • Pregabalin
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Skin / innervation
  • Time Factors
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / therapeutic use


  • Analgesics
  • Pregabalin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Carrageenan