Thoracotomy results in a high frequency of chronic postoperative pain. Resolvins are endogenous molecules, synthesized and released by activated immune cells, effective against inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Different resolvins have differential actions on selective neuronal and glial receptors and enzymes. This article examines the ability of intrathecal resolvin D1 and resolvin D2 to reduce chronic post-thoracotomy pain in rats. Thoracotomy, involving intercostal incision and rib retraction, resulted in a decrease in the mechanical force threshold to induce nocifensive behavior, an enlargement of the pain-sensitive area, and an increase in the fraction of rats showing nocifensive behavior, all for at least 5 weeks. The qualitative nature of the behavioral responses to tactile stimulation changed dramatically after thoracotomy, including the appearance of vigorous behaviors, such as turning, shuddering, and squealing, all absent in naive rats. Intrathecal delivery of resolvin D1 (30 ng/30 μL), at surgery or 4 days later, halved the spread of the mechanosensitive area, lowered by 60% the percent of rats with tactile hypersensitivity, and reduced the drop in threshold for a nocifensive response, along with a reduction in the occurrence of vigorous nocifensive responses. Resolvin D2's actions on threshold changes were statistically the same. These findings suggest that intrathecal resolvins, delivered preoperatively or several days later, can prevent chronic postoperative hyperalgesia. Perspective In studies of rats, the injection of the proresolving compounds of the resolvin-D series into spinal fluid, before or just after thoracotomy surgery, prevents the occurrence of acute and chronic pain. If these chemicals, which have shown no side-effects, were used in humans it might greatly reduce chronic postoperative pain.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine