Botulinum neurotoxin type A counteracts neuropathic pain and facilitates functional recovery after peripheral nerve injury in animal models

S. Marinelli, S. Luvisetto, S. Cobianchi, W. Makuch, I. Obara, E. Mezzaroma, M. Caruso, E. Straface, B. Przewlocka, F. Pavone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A growing interest was recently focused on the use of Botulinum neurotoxin serotype A (BoNT/A) for fighting pain. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of BoNT/A on neuropathic pain. It was observed that BoNT/A is able to counteract neuropathic pain induced by chronic constriction injury (CCI) to the sciatic nerve both in mice and in rats. This effect is already present after a single intraplantar ( or intrathecal (i.t.) neurotoxin administration that significantly reduces the sciatic nerve ligation-induced mechanical allodynia in mice and rats and thermal hyperalgesia in rats. This effect was evident starting 24 h after the administration of BoNT/A and it was long-lasting, being present 81 or 25 days after injection of the higher dose in mice (15 pg/paw) and rats (75 pg/paw), respectively, and 35 days after i.t. injection in rats (75 pg/rat). Moreover, BoNT/A-injected mice showed a quicker recovery of the walking pattern and weight bearing compared to control groups. The behavioral improvement was accompanied by structural modifications, as revealed by the expression of cell division cycle 2 (Cdc2) and growth associated protein 43 (GAP-43) regeneration associated proteins, investigated by immunofluorescence and Western blotting in the sciatic nerve, and by the immunofluorescence expression of S100β and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) Schwann cells proteins. In conclusion, the present research demonstrate long-lasting anti-allodynic and anti-hyperalgesic effects of BoNT/A in animal models of neuropathic pain together with an acceleration of regenerative processes in the injured nerve, as evidenced by both behavioral and immunohistochemistry/blotting analysis. These results may have important implications in the therapy of neuropathic pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-328
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 24 2010


  • Allodynia
  • Hyperalgesia
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Sciatic nerve ligation
  • Sciatic static index
  • Weight bearing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Botulinum neurotoxin type A counteracts neuropathic pain and facilitates functional recovery after peripheral nerve injury in animal models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this