Korean J Anesthesiol.  2013 Oct;65(4):331-336. 10.4097/kjae.2013.65.4.331.

Synergistic anti-allodynic effect between intraperitoneal thalidomide and morphine on rat spinal nerve ligation-induced neuropathic pain

  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea. aneszzz@naver.com


Thalidomide has been recognized as having an anti-allodynic effect against neuropathic pain induced by spinal nerve ligation. Its clinical beneficial effects are mainly derived from its immune-modulating property, which is known to influence the analgesic action of morphine. The possible characteristics of systemic interactions between thalidomide and morphine in the context of spinal nerve ligation-induced neuropathic pain were examined in rats.
Neuropathic pain was induced by ligation of the L5/6 spinal nerves in male Sprague-Dawley rats and mechanical allodynia was assessed using von Frey filaments. The ED50 was calculated for thalidomide and for morphine, and the mixture of both drugs was intraperitoneally administered at different doses of ED50 of each drug (1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1/1 of ED50) to obtain the experimental ED50 value for the combination of thalidomide and morphine. Isobolographic analysis was used to evaluate the characteristics of drug interactions between morphine and thalidomide.
The ED50 of thalidomide was three-fold higher than that of morphine. The experimental ED50 value of the mixture of thalidomide and morphine was significantly lower than the calculated theoretical ED50 value. Isobolographic analysis revealed a synergistic interaction for anti-allodynic effect after intraperitoneal delivery of the thalidomide-morphine mixture.
These results suggest that thalidomide acts synergistically with morphine to produce an anti-allodynic effect in neuropathic pain induced by spinal nerve ligation in rats. Thus, the combination of thalidomide with morphine may be one of the useful strategies in the management of neuropathic pain.


Analgesics; Drug synergism; Intraperitoneal injection; Morphine; Thalidomide
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