A metalloprotease-inhibitor reduces pain associated behavior in mice with experimental neuropathy

Neurosci Lett. 1997 Nov 14;237(1):45-8. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(97)00813-6.


Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) is involved in the generation of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. The synthetic hydroxamic acid based metalloprotease inhibitor TAPI blocks cleavage of cell surface TNF and thus reduces levels of the mature 17-kDa TNF polypeptide in activated macrophages and T-cells. We have previously shown that pharmacologic inhibition of TNF production reduces pain related behaviors in mice with chronic constriction injury (CCI). Here we investigated whether blockage of TNF shedding by administration of TAPI would diminish hyperalgesia in animals with partial nerve injury. We injected 0.5 mg of the inhibitor epineurially once daily to mice with CCI for 7 days. The animals were tested for withdrawal thresholds to heat to test for thermal hyperalgesia and to von Frey hairs to assess mechanical allodynia. Mice with CCI developed thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia by day 3 after the injury. In mice treated with TAPI, a reduction of thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia of up to 50% occurred. Endoneurial TNF-immunoreactivity was reduced, but not immunoreactivity for IL-1alpha or IL-1beta. The numbers of degenerating axons and endoneurial macrophages were not affected by the treatment as compared to controls. We conclude that the metalloprotease inhibitor TAPI specifically reduces endoneurial TNF-levels after nerve injury and thereby may diminish neuropathic pain in the CCI-model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dipeptides / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature
  • Hydroxamic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Hyperalgesia / physiopathology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interleukin-1 / analysis
  • Metalloendopeptidases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Peripheral Nerves / chemistry
  • Protease Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Sciatic Nerve / chemistry
  • Sciatic Nerve / injuries
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Dipeptides
  • Hydroxamic Acids
  • Interleukin-1
  • N-((2-(hydroxyaminocarbonyl)methyl)-4-methylpentanoyl)-3-(2'-naphthyl)alanylalanine, 2-aminoethylamide
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Metalloendopeptidases