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Evaluation of Buprenorphine in a Postoperative\ud Pain Model in Rats

By Dr. Leslie I. Curtin, Julie A. Grakowsky, Mauricio Suarez, Dr. Alexis C. Thompson, Dr. Jean M. DiPirro, Dr. Lisa B.E. Martin and Dr. Mark B. Kristal


We evaluated the commonly prescribed analgesic buprenorphine in a postoperative pain model in rats, assessing acute postoperative pain relief, rebound hyperalgesia, and the long-term effects of postoperative opioid treatment on subsequent opioid exposure. Rats received surgery (paw incision under isoflurane anesthesia), sham surgery (anesthesia only), or neither and were treated postoperatively with 1 of several doses of subcutaneous buprenorphine. Pain sensitivity to noxious and nonnoxious mechanical stimuli at the site of injury (primary pain) was assessed at 1, 4, 24, and 72 h after surgery. Pain sensitivity at a site distal to the injury (secondary pain) was assessed at 24 and 72 h after surgery. Rats were tested for their sensitivity to the analgesic and\ud locomotor effects of morphine 9 to 10 d after surgery. Buprenorphine at 0.05 mg/kg SC was determined to be the most effective; this dose induced isoalgesia during the acute postoperative period and the longest period of pain relief, and it did not induce longterm changes in opioid sensitivity in 2 functional measures of the opioid system. A lower dose of buprenorphine (0.01 mg/kg SC) did not meet the criterion for isoalgesia, and a higher dose (0.1 mg/kg SC) was less effective in pain relief at later recovery periods and induced a long-lasting opioid tolerance, indicating greater neural adaptations. These results support the use of 0.05 mg/kg SC buprenorphine as the upper dose limit for effective treatment of postoperative pain in rats and suggest that higher doses produce long-term effects on opioid sensitivity

Topics: Psychobiology, Physiological Psychology, Neuropharmacology, Behavioral Neuroscience
Publisher: American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

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