, Volume 182, Issue 4, pp 551-561
Date: 17 Aug 2005

Anti-nociception is selectively enhanced by parallel inhibition of multiple subtypes of monoamine transporters in rat models of persistent and neuropathic pain

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Abstract

Rationale

Neuropathic pain is characterised by hyperexcitability within nociceptive pathways that manifests behaviourally as allodynia and hyperalgesia and remains difficult to treat with standard analgesics. However, antidepressants have shown reasonable preclinical and clinical anti-nociceptive efficacy against signs and symptoms of neuropathic pain.

Objectives

To ascertain whether inhibition of serotonin (5-HT) and/or noradrenaline (NA) and/or dopamine (DA) re-uptake preferentially mediates superior anti-nociception in preclinical pain models.

Methods

The 5-HT re-uptake inhibitor fluoxetine (3–30 mg/kg), the NA re-uptake inhibitor reboxetine (3–30 mg/kg), the dual 5-HT and NA re-uptake inhibitor venlafaxine (3–100 mg/kg) and the dual DA and NA re-uptake inhibitor bupropion (3–30 mg/kg) were tested after intraperitoneal administration in rat models of acute, persistent and neuropathic pain.

Results

Reboxetine and venlafaxine dose-dependently attenuated second-phase flinching in the formalin test; fluoxetine attenuated flinching only at the highest dose tested, whereas bupropion was ineffective. In the chronic constriction injury (CCI) and spinal nerve ligation models of neuropathic pain, hindpaw mechanical allodynia was significantly attenuated by fluoxetine and particularly by bupropion. Reboxetine and venlafaxine were completely ineffective. In contrast, reboxetine and venlafaxine reversed thermal hyperalgesia in CCI rats, whereas bupropion and fluoxetine were either minimally effective or ineffective. Fluoxetine, reboxetine and venlafaxine transiently increased the tail-flick latency in uninjured animals. Anti-nociceptive doses of drugs had no effect on motor function.

Conclusions

Combined re-uptake inhibition of 5-HT and NA appears to confer a greater degree of anti-nociception in animal models of experimental pain than single mechanism of action inhibitors. The selective attenuation of mechanical allodynia by bupropion suggests that the additional re-uptake of DA may further augment 5-HT/NA re-uptake mediated anti-nociception after nerve injury.