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Neural mobilization reverses behavioral and cellular changes that characterize neuropathic pain in rats

Fabio M Santos13, Joyce T Silva1, Aline C Giardini1, Priscila A Rocha1, Arnold PP Achermann1, Adilson S Alves2, Luiz RG Britto2 and Marucia Chacur14*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Anatomy, Laboratory of Functional Neuroanatomy of Pain, Sao Paulo, Brazil

2 Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Laboratory of Cellular Neurobiology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of São Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

3 Professor of Anatomy from University Nine of July, Sao Paulo, Brazil

4 Laboratory of Functional Neuroanatomy of Pain Department of Anatomy Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of São Paulo, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, Sao Paulo, 2415 05508-900, Brazil

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Molecular Pain 2012, 8:57  doi:10.1186/1744-8069-8-57

Published: 29 July 2012



The neural mobilization technique is a noninvasive method that has proved clinically effective in reducing pain sensitivity and consequently in improving quality of life after neuropathic pain. The present study examined the effects of neural mobilization (NM) on pain sensitivity induced by chronic constriction injury (CCI) in rats. The CCI was performed on adult male rats, submitted thereafter to 10 sessions of NM, each other day, starting 14 days after the CCI injury. Over the treatment period, animals were evaluated for nociception using behavioral tests, such as tests for allodynia and thermal and mechanical hyperalgesia. At the end of the sessions, the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and spinal cord were analyzed using immunohistochemistry and Western blot assays for neural growth factor (NGF) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP).


The NM treatment induced an early reduction (from the second session) of the hyperalgesia and allodynia in CCI-injured rats, which persisted until the end of the treatment. On the other hand, only after the 4th session we observed a blockade of thermal sensitivity. Regarding cellular changes, we observed a decrease of GFAP and NGF expression after NM in the ipsilateral DRG (68% and 111%, respectively) and the decrease of only GFAP expression after NM in the lumbar spinal cord (L3-L6) (108%).


These data provide evidence that NM treatment reverses pain symptoms in CCI-injured rats and suggest the involvement of glial cells and NGF in such an effect.

Sciatic nerve; DRG; Hyperalgesia; Satellite cells; NGF; Pain