Intramuscularly injected neurotropin reduced muscular mechanical hyperalgesia induced by repeated cold stress in rats
An extract of rabbit skin inflamed by inoculation with the vaccinia virus, neurotropin [by intravenous, oral, and intramuscular (i.m.) administration], has been used in China and Japan for the treatment of chronic pain. In this study, we investigated the analgesic mechanism of i.m. neurotropin. Rats were exposed to repeated cold stress, and muscular mechanical hyperalgesia was evaluated by measuring the withdrawal threshold of the gastrocnemius muscle using Randall–Selitto apparatus. I.m. but not subcutaneous, neurotropin dose dependently reduced the repeated cold stress-induced muscular mechanical hyperalgesia for 3 h, but it had no effect in normal rats. Injections of neurotropin into the right gastrocnemius, quadriceps femoris, biceps brachii, and trapezius muscles reduced the muscular mechanical hyperalgesia of the gastrocnemius muscle bilaterally. Intrathecal administration of antagonists to GABAergic, serotonergic, and cholinergic receptors, but not α2-adrenergic receptors, and intraperitoneal administration of opioid receptor antagonist inhibited the analgesic effect of neurotropin. These results indicated that an i.m. injection of neurotropin induced long-lasting wide-spread bilateral muscular analgesia by activating spinal serotonergic and GABAergic receptors. As distinct from analgesia by systemic administration, spinal cholinergic and opioidergic, but not adrenergic receptors, are also involved. The present study supports the effectiveness of neurotropin treatment for muscular mechanical hyperalgesia.