Stable Rat Model of Mechanical Allodynia in Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: The Role of Nerve Compression

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Abstract

Background

Preclinical studies involving animal models are essential for understanding the underlying mechanisms of diabetic neuropathic pain.

Methods

Rats were divided into four groups: two controls and two experimental. Diabetes mellitus was induced by streptozotocin (STZ) injection in two experimental groups. The first group involved one sham operation. The second group involved one latex tube encircling the sciatic nerve. The vehicle-injection rats were used as two corresponding control groups: sham operation and encircled nerves. By the third week, STZ-injected rats with encircled nerves were further divided into three subgroups: one involving continuing observation and the other two involving decompression (removal of the latex tube) at different time points (third week and fifth week). Weight and blood glucose were monitored, and behavioral analysis, including paw withdrawal threshold (PWT) and latency, was performed every week during the experimental period (7 weeks).

Results

Hyperglycemia was induced in all STZ-injected rats. A significant increase in weight was observed in the control groups when compared with the experimental groups. By the third week, more STZ-injected rats with encircled nerves developed mechanical allodynia than those without (P < 0.05), while no significant difference was noted (P > 0.05) on the incidence of thermal hyperalgesia. Mechanical allodynia, but not thermal hyperalgesia, could be ameliorated by the removal of the latex tube at an early stage (third week).

Conclusion

With the combined use of a latex tube and STZ injection, a stable rat model of painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) manifesting both thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia has been established.

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