Cold allodynia elicited by local intraplantar injection of the chemotherapeutic agent oxaliplatin is mediated through Nav1.6-expressing peripheral sensory fibres. Activation of Nav1.6 alone elicits only mechanical allodynia and spontaneous pain, but when combined with inhibition of Kv channels, profound cold allodynia develops.
Cold allodynia, pain in response to cooling, occurs during or within hours of oxaliplatin infusion and is thought to arise from a direct effect of oxaliplatin on peripheral sensory neurons. To characterize the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying acute oxaliplatin-induced cold allodynia, we established a new intraplantar oxaliplatin mouse model that rapidly developed long-lasting cold allodynia mediated entirely through tetrodotoxin-sensitive Nav pathways. Using selective inhibitors and knockout animals, we found that Nav1.6 was the key isoform involved, while thermosensitive transient receptor potential channels were not involved. Consistent with a crucial role for delayed-rectifier potassium channels in excitability in response to cold, intraplantar administration of the K+-channel blocker 4-aminopyridine mimicked oxaliplatin-induced cold allodynia and was also inhibited by Nav1.6 blockers. Intraplantar injection of the Nav1.6 activator Cn2 elicited spontaneous pain, mechanical allodynia, and enhanced 4-aminopyridine-induced cold allodynia. These findings provide behavioural evidence for a crucial role of Nav1.6 in multiple peripheral pain pathways including cold allodynia.