Background: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) from spinal microglia is crucial for aberrant nociceptive signaling in several pathological pain conditions, including postoperative pain. We assess the contribution of spinal microglial activation and associated BDNF overexpression to the early post-incisional nociceptive threshold. Methods: Male SpragueDawley rats were implanted with an intrathecal catheter. A postoperative pain model was established by plantar incision. Thermal and mechanical nociceptive responses were assessed by infrared radiant heat and von Frey flaments before and after plantar incision. Rats were injected intrathecally the microglial activation inhibitor minocycline before incision, 24 h after incision, or both. Other groups were subjected to the same treatments and the L4-L5 spinal cord segment removed for immunohistochemical analysis of microglia activation and BNDF expression. Results: Plantar incision reduced both thermal latency and mechanical threshold, indicating thermal hypersensitivity and mechanical allodynia. Minocycline temporally reduced thermal withdrawal latency but had no effect on mechanical withdrawal threshold, spinal microglial activity, or dorsal horn BDNF overexpression during the early post-incision period. Conclusion: These results suggest that spinal microglia does not contribute substantially to post-incisional nociceptive threshold. The BDNF overexpression response that may contribute to postoperative hyperalgesia and allodynia is likely derived from other sources.
- Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
- Early postoperative pain
- Spinal cord