Korean J Anesthesiol.  2004 Jun;46(6):S17-S21. 10.4097/kjae.2004.46.6.S17.

Pre-emptive Effect of Methylprednisolone on the Mechanical Allodynia Development after Peripheral Nerve Injuries in Rats

  • 1Department of Dental Anesthesiology and Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Dentistry, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Anesthesiology, Seoul National University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Neurology, Seoul Municipal Boramae Hospital and Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Glucocorticoids have anti-inflammatory effects and have been used to treat many types of nerve injury- associated chronic pain conditions. A randomized double-blind study was performed to determine if methylprednisolone could prevent the development of neuropathic pain after a peripheral nerve injury in rats.
Two groups of rats, one group (n = 50) injected intraperitoneally with methylprednisolone (100 mg/kg/day, for 7 days starting from 3 days prior to the nerve injury) and the other (n = 58) treated with saline with same manner, were compared in terms of the incidence and intensity of allodynia after a superior caudal trunk transection at the level between the 3rd and 4th sacral spinal nerves. The tail-flick responses to normally innocuous mechanical and thermal stimuli applied to the tail were observed as the behavioral signs of neuropathic pain.
The proportions of rats exhibiting tail-flick responses to the mechanical (but not thermal) stimuli 7, 14 and 21 days after the nerve injury were significantly smaller in the methylprednisolone-treated group (2, 3 and 4 of 50 rats, respectively) than in the saline-treated, control group (11, 14 and 15 of 58 rats, respectively) (P = 0.009). However, the pain intensity was similar in mechanical allodynia developed rats of the two groups (P > 0.05), which was estimated based on the frequency and latency of the tail-flick responses after applying mechanical and thermal stimuli, respectively.
These results suggest that a pre-emptive treatment with high methylprednisolone doses may be used to prevent the development of mechanical allodynia following peripheral nerve injuries.


allodynia; axotomy; methylprednisolone; neuropathic pain; steroid.
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