Differential spinal cord gene expression in rodent models of radicular and neuropathic pain ANESTHESIOLOGY LaCroix-Fralish, M. L., Tawfik, V. L., Tanga, F. Y., Spratt, K. F., DeLeo, J. A. 2006; 104 (6): 1283-1292


Neuropathic pain and radicular low back pain both have a major impact on human health worldwide. Microarray gene analysis on central nervous system tissues holds great promise for discovering novel targets for persistent pain modulation.Rat models of lumbar radiculopathy (L5 nerve root ligation) and neuropathy (L5 spinal nerve transection) were used for these studies. The authors measured mechanical allodynia followed by analysis of global gene expression in the lumbar spinal cord at two time points (7 days and 14 days) after surgery using the Affymetrix RAE230A GeneChip(R) (Santa Clara, CA). The expression patterns of several genes of interest were subsequently confirmed using real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction.The authors observed similarly robust mechanical allodynia in both models. Second, they observed significant differences in lumbar spinal cord gene expression across chronic pain models. There was little overlap between genes altered in each injury model, suggesting that the site and type of injury produce distinct spinal mechanisms mediating the observed mechanical allodynia. The authors further confirmed a subset of the genes using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and identified several genes as either neuropathy-associated genes or radiculopathy-associated genes.These two models of persistent pain produce similar allodynic outcomes but produce differential gene expression. These results suggest that diverging mechanisms lead to a common behavioral outcome in these pain models. Furthermore, these distinct pathophysiologic mechanisms in neuropathic versus radicular pain may implicate unique drug therapies for these types of chronic pain syndromes.

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