Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) can induce loss of nociception as well as mechanical hyperalgesia and tactile allodynia. Pharmacological and clinical studies have shown that buprenorphine, a low-molecular-weight, lipophilic, opioid analgesic available as a transdermal matrix patch formulation, acts on neuropathic pain. To assess the role of buprenorphine in the treatment of DPN-associated neuropathic pain, we used a well-established experimental rat model of DPN in which buprenorphine at doses of 1.2 and 2.4 μg/kg/h was administered by implantable Alzet osmotic pumps for 3 weeks. After 6 weeks of diabetes, nerve conduction velocity (NCV) and behavioural responses to noxious mechanical and thermal stimuli were assessed. Diabetic rats showed an impairment of NCV, mechanical allodynia, and thermal hypoalgesia. Both doses of buprenorphine significantly reversed the diabetes-induced allodynia up to day 7 of treatment. Buprenorphine did not alter either thermal perception or NCV. Perspective: This study evaluated, through a multimodal approach, the analgesic effect of buprenorphine in an experimental rat model of painful DPN. Our results suggest a possible role for buprenorphine in the management of DPN-associated neuropathic pain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
- Clinical Neurology