Botulinum neurotoxins and formalin-induced pain: Central vs. peripheral effects in mice

Siro Luvisetto, Sara Marinelli, Francesco Lucchetti, Fabrizio Marchi, Stefano Cobianchi, Ornella Rossetto, Cesare Montecucco, Flaminia Pavone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neurotoxins affecting neuroexocytosis can represent an innovative pharmacological approach to the investigation of neural mechanisms of pain. Our interest has been focused on the use of botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), whose peripheral effects are extensively documented, while the effects on the central nervous system are much less clear. We have investigated both peripheral (sc into the hindpaw) and central (icv) effects of two BoNTs isoforms, BoNT/A and BoNT/B, on inflammatory pain. BoNT/A (sc: 0.937-15; icv: 0.937-3.75 pgtox/mouse) and BoNT/B (sc: 3.75, 7.5; icv: 1.875, 3.75 pgtox/mouse) were injected in CD1 mice and tested in the formalin test 3 days later. Licking response, as index of pain, and behavioral parameters, such as general activity and grooming, were recorded for 40 min during the test. BoNT/A partially affects the licking response in the second phase of formalin test in a similar magnitude of attenuation whether peripherally or centrally administered. BoNT/A does not significantly affect licking behavior during the first phase of the test. Peripheral administration of BoNT/B attenuates the licking response during the first phase not modifying the second phase, while the icv administration has hyperalgesic effect on the interphase of the formalin test. General activity and grooming behavior are not affected either by peripheral or by central administration of BoNTs. Our results show for the first time a central effect of BoNTs that differently modulate inflammatory pain depending both on serotype and on route of administration. Such data suggest BoNTs as a useful tool in the studies aimed at the comprehension of the mechanisms of inflammatory pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-131
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 12 2006


  • Behavior
  • Botulinum
  • Inflammatory pain
  • Mice
  • Neurotransmission
  • SNARE protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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