Perineural injection of clonidine at the site of nerve injury reduces hypersensitivity while simultaneously reducing leukocyte number and cytokine expression and hyperexcitability in sensory neurons. The activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase in sensory neurons contributes to the development and maintenance of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Here, we tested whether perineural clonidine affected activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase following partial sciatic nerve ligation. Perineural clonidine significantly increased withdrawal threshold and concomitantly reduced phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase in sensory neurons ipsilateral to injury. Clonidine's effects were blocked by the α2-adrenoceptor antagonist, BRL44408. These data suggest that activation of α2-adrenoceptors at the site of nerve injury, probably by immune modulation, reduces intracellular signaling in primary afferents that leads to hypersensitivity.