Low-Dose Naltrexone Reverses Facial Mechanical Allodynia in a Rat Model of Trigeminal Neuralgia (Abstract)

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Low-Dose Naltrexone Reverses Facial Mechanical Allodynia in a Rat Model of Trigeminal Neuralgia

Neurosci Lett
25 Sept 2020

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a type of neuropathic pain characterized by intense pain; although anticonvulsants are used as an option to relieve pain, adverse side effects can decrease patient adherence. In this context, a low dose of naltrexone is effective in relieving pain in other pain conditions. Thus, the objective of the present study was to evaluate the analgesic effect of low-dose naltrexone on facial mechanical allodynia in a rat model of TN, as well as its effect(s) on biomarkers in the central nervous system (tumor necrosis factor-alpha, brain-derived neurotrophic factor [BDNF], interleukin [IL]-10, and toll-like receptor-4). Fifty-nine adult male Wistar rats (CEUA-HCPA#2017-0575) were allocated to following groups: control; sham-pain + vehicle; sham-pain + carbamazepine (100 mg/kg); sham-pain + naltrexone (0.5 mg/kg); pain + vehicle; pain + carbamazepine; and pain + naltrexone. TN was induced using chronic constriction of the infraorbital nerve. Facial allodynia was assessed using von Frey test. Drugs were administered by gavage 14 days after surgery for 10 days. At baseline, the mechanical threshold was similar between groups (P > 0.05; generalized estimating equation). Seven days after surgery, facial allodynia was observed in sham-TN and pain-TN groups (P < 0.05). Fourteen days after surgery, only pain-TN groups exhibited facial allodynia. The first dose of low-dose naltrexone or carbamazepine partially reversed facial allodynia. After 10 days of treatment, both drugs completely reversed it. Spinal cord levels of BDNF and IL-10 were modulated by low-dose naltrexone. Thus, low-dose naltrexone may be suitable to relieve TN; however, the exact mechanisms need to be clarified.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Toll-like receptors; cytokines; naltrexone; orofacial pain; trigeminal neuralgia.