BACKGROUND: Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) has been used to treat chronic pain for years, but its effectiveness and mechanism in treating diabetic neuropathic pain are still unexplored. The aim of this study was to elucidate the modulation of diabetic neuropathic pain induced by streptozotocin and the release of spinal excitatory amino acids by PRF. METHODS: Diabetes was induced by intraperitoneal administration of streptozotocin. Pulsed radiofrequency was applied to L5 and L6 dorsal roots at 42 °C for 2 min. The responses of all of the groups to thermal, mechanical and cold stimuli were measured for a period of 6 d after this process. Seven days after PRF treatment, intrathecal microdialysis was used to examine the effect of pulsed radiofrequency on the formalin-evoked spinal release of excitatory amino acids and concurrent behaviour responses from diabetic rats. RESULTS: Three weeks after intraperitoneal streptozotocin treatment and before PRF application, mechanical, thermal and cold hypersensitivity occurred. Application of PRF significantly alleviated hyperglycaemia-induced mechanical, thermal and cold hypersensitivity and also attenuated the increase in formalin-evoked CSF glutamate concentration, compared with sham treated diabetic rats. CONCLUSION: It may be concluded that PRF has an analgesic effect on neuropathic pain by suppressing the nociception-induced release of excitatory neurotransmitters. PRF may provide a novel promising therapeutic approach for managing diabetic neuropathic pain.
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