JOURNAL ARTICLE

Topical gabapentin gel alleviates allodynia and hyperalgesia in the chronic sciatic nerve constriction injury neuropathic pain model

M Shahid, F Subhan, N Ahmad, G Ali, S Akbar, K Fawad, R D E Sewell
European Journal of Pain: EJP 2017, 21 (4): 668-680
27862616

BACKGROUND: Systemic gabapentin is a mainstay treatment for neuropathic pain though there are side-effects. Localized therapy may curtail such side-effects so a topical gabapentin dermal application was examined in the chronic constriction injury (CCI) model of neuropathic pain.

METHODS: Partial denervation CCI was achieved by rat sciatic nerve ligation. Gabapentin gel (10% w/w) was applied three times daily on the ipsilateral or contralateral plantar surface of the hind-paw, whereas in a concurrent systemic study, gabapentin was intraperitoneally administered daily (75 mg/kg) for 30 days. Tests for static- and dynamic-mechano-allodynia [paw withdrawal threshold (PWT) to von Frey filament application and latency (PWL) to light brushing], cold-allodynia [paw withdrawal duration (PWD) to acetone], heat- (PWL and PWD) and mechano-hyperalgesia (PWD to pin prick) were utilized to assess pain, whereas effects on locomotion (open field) and motor balance (rotarod and footprint analysis) were measured on days 5-30 post surgery.

RESULTS: Topical application of gabapentin gel ipsilaterally but not contralaterally alleviated CCI-induced static- (days 10-30) and dynamic-allodynia (days 15-30), suppressed cold-allodynia (days 10-30), heat- (days 15-30) and mechano-hyperalgesia (days 5-30) indicating a local action. Systemic gabapentin exhibited similar pain profiles but was associated with motor impairment. The gabapentin gel formulation afforded desirable neuropathic pain alleviating effects devoid of unwanted systemic side-effects.

CONCLUSIONS: These outcomes disclose an expedient pharmacological validation of the effectiveness of topical gabapentin gel against an extensive range of nociceptive stimulus modalities utilizing the CCI-induced neuropathic pain model. They also advocate further clinical studies on topical gabapentin with regard to certain neuropathic pain syndromes.

SIGNIFICANCE: Systemic gabapentin neuropathic pain management carries side-effects ostensibly preventable by localized therapy. This study validates the effectiveness potential of a topical gabapentin gel against an extensive range of nociceptive stimulus modalities utilizing the chronic constriction injury-induced neuropathic pain model.

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