Different antinociceptive effects of botulinum toxin type A in inflammatory and peripheral polyneuropathic rat models

Eur J Pharmacol. 2009 Sep 1;617(1-3):48-53. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2009.06.047. Epub 2009 Jul 1.


In addition to inhibition of acetylcholine release in the neuromuscular junction botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A) also inhibits the release of mediators involved in pain perception. We have investigated the effect of two types of BoNT-A on mechanical hyperalgesia in the rat models of carrageenan-induced hyperalgesia and of paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy. A subplantar (s.p.) injection of BoNT-A in the ipsilateral hindpaw 3 days before carrageenan administration reduced hypersensitivity. Dysport and Botox elicited comparable antihyperalgesic effects. Dysport up to 30 U/kg and Botox up to 20 U/kg did not impair the rat withdrawal nociceptive reflex or the locomotor performance as assessed by the rotarod test. Intraperitoneal administration of the skeletal muscle relaxant dantrolene produced, in contrast to BoNT-A, more motor impairment than analgesia. Paclitaxel treatment resulted in a peripheral neuropathy that affected the two hindpaws. Injection of 20 U/kg (s.p.) Dysport produced a significant antihyperalgesic effect in the injected paw of neuropathic animals 3 days after administration. Unexpectedly, a similar analgesic effect was observed in the contralateral paw. The same results were also observed when Botox was used instead of Dysport. In contrast, a contralateral administration of Dysport in the carrageenan test was ineffective. We conclude that BoNT-A elicits antinociceptive effects independent of the effects on muscular relaxation. Our results suggest that different mechanisms of action are responsible for the effect of BoNT-A in inflammatory and peripheral polyneuropathic rat models.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics / pharmacology*
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / administration & dosage
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / pharmacology*
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / therapeutic use
  • Carrageenan
  • Dantrolene / administration & dosage
  • Dantrolene / pharmacology
  • Dantrolene / therapeutic use
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Edema / chemically induced
  • Edema / drug therapy
  • Hyperalgesia / chemically induced
  • Hyperalgesia / drug therapy
  • Hyperalgesia / physiopathology
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Injections
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Paclitaxel
  • Polyneuropathies / chemically induced
  • Polyneuropathies / drug therapy*
  • Polyneuropathies / physiopathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Analgesics
  • Carrageenan
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A
  • Dantrolene
  • Paclitaxel