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1.  Mechanical and cold hypersensitivity in nerve-injured C57BL/6J mice is not associated with fear-avoidance- and depression-related behaviour 
British journal of anaesthesia  2007;98(6):816-822.
Background
Neuropathic pain is associated with significant co-morbidity, including anxiety and depression, which impact considerably on the overall patient experience. However, pain co-morbidity symptoms are rarely assessed in animal models of neuropathic pain. To improve the clinical validity of a widely used rodent model of traumatic peripheral neuropathy, we have investigated fear-avoidance- and depression-related behaviours in nerve-injured and sham-operated mice over a 4 week period.
Methods
Male C57BL/6J mice were subjected to partial sciatic nerve ligation (PSNL) or sham surgery and were assessed on days 7, 14, and 28 after operation. Withdrawal thresholds to punctate mechanical and cooling stimuli were measured. Mice were tested on the novel open-field and elevated plus-maze tests for fear-avoidance behaviour, and on the tail suspension test for depression-related behaviour.
Results
Hypersensitivity to punctate mechanical and cool stimuli was evident up to day 28 after PSNL. However, there was no change in fear-avoidance- or depression-related behaviours regardless of interval after-surgery.
Conclusion
These data demonstrate that pain behaviour in nerve-injured C57BL/6J mice was not associated with alterations in emotion-related behaviours.
doi:10.1093/bja/aem087
PMCID: PMC2656645  PMID: 17478455
mouse; pain, chronic; pain, neuropathic; pain, psychological variables; research, animal
2.  The effect of the palmitoylethanolamide analogue, palmitoylallylamide (L-29) on pain behaviour in rodent models of neuropathy 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2007;151(7):1117-1128.
Background and Purpose:
Cannabinoids are associated with analgesia in acute and chronic pain states. A spectrum of central cannabinoid (CB1) receptor-mediated motor and psychotropic side effects limit their therapeutic potential. Here, we investigate the analgesic effect of the palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) analogue, palmitoylallylamide (L-29), which via inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) may potentiate endocannabinoids thereby avoiding psychotropic side effects.
Experimental Approach:
The in vivo analysis of the effect of L-29 on measures of pain behaviour in three rat models of neuropathic pain.
Key Results:
Systemically administered L-29 (10 mg kg−1) reduced hypersensitivity to mechanical and thermal stimuli in the partial sciatic nerve injury (PSNI) model of neuropathic pain; and mechanical hypersensitivity in a model of antiretroviral (ddC)-associated hypersensitivity and a model of varicella zoster virus (VZV)-associated hypersensitivity. The effects of L-29 were comparable to those of gabapentin (50 mg kg−1). The CB1 receptor antagonist SR141716a (1 mg kg−1) and the CB2 receptor antagonist SR144528 (1 mg kg−1) reduced the effect of L-29 on hypersensitivity in the PSNI and ddC models, but not in the VZV model. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α antagonist, MK-886 (1 mg kg−1), partially attenuated the effect of L-29 on hypersensitivity in the PSNI model. L-29 (10 mg kg−1) significantly attenuated thigmotactic behaviour in the open field arena without effect on locomotor activity.
Conclusions and Implications:
L-29 produces analgesia in a range of neuropathic pain models. This presents L-29 as a novel analgesic compound that may target the endogenous cannabinoid system while avoiding undesirable side effects associated with direct cannabinoid receptor activation.
doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0707326
PMCID: PMC2042941  PMID: 17558434
neuropathic pain; cannabinoids; palmitoylethanolamide; palmitoylallylamide; FAAH; open field activity
3.  Further characterisation of a rat model of varicella zoster virus (VZV)-associated pain 
Neuroscience  2006;144(4):1495-1508.
Persistent herpes zoster-associated pain is a significant clinical problem and an area of largely unmet therapeutic need. Progress in elucidating the underlying pathophysiology of zoster-associated pain and related co-morbidity behaviour, in addition to appropriately targeted drug development has been hindered by the lack of an appropriate animal model. This study further characterises a recently developed rat model of zoster-associated hypersensitivity and investigates (a) response to different viral strains; (b) relationship between viral inoculum concentration (‘dose’) and mechanical hypersensitivity (‘response’); (c) attenuation of virus-associated mechanical hypersensitivity by clinically useful analgesic drugs; and (d) measurement of pain co-morbidity (anxiety-like behaviour) and pharmacological intervention in the open field paradigm (in parallel with models of traumatic peripheral nerve injury). VZV was propagated on fibroblast cells before subcutaneous injection into the glabrous footpad of the left hind limb of adult male Wistar rats. Control animals received injection of uninfected fibroblast cells. Hind-limb reflex withdrawal thresholds to mechanical, noxious thermal and cooling stimuli were recorded at specified intervals post-infection. Infection with all viral strains was associated with a dose-dependent mechanical hypersensitivity but not a thermal or cool hypersensitivity. Systemic treatment with intraperitoneal (i.p.) morphine (2.5mg/kg), amitriptyline (10mg/kg), gabapentin (30mg/kg), (S)-(+)-ibuprofen (20mg/kg) and the cannnabinoid WIN55,212-2 (2mg/kg) but not the antiviral, acyclovir (50mg/kg), was associated with a reversal of mechanical paw withdrawal thresholds. In the open field paradigm, virus-infected and nerve-injured animals demonstrated an anxiety-like pattern of ambulation (reduced entry into the central area of the open arena) which was positively correlated with mechanical hypersensitivity. This may reflect pain-related comorbidity. Further, anxiety-like behaviour was attenuated by acute i.p. administration of gabapentin (30mg/kg) in nerve-injured, but not virus-infected animals. This model will prove useful in elucidating the pathophysiology of zoster-associated pain and provide a tool for pre-clinical screening of analgesic drugs.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2006.11.029
PMCID: PMC2394505  PMID: 17197105
zoster-associated pain; postherpetic neuralgia; neuropathy; analgesia; open field; anxiety-like behaviour

Results 1-3 (3)