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Efficacy of Intrathecal Morphine in a Model of Surgical Pain in Rats.

Efficacy of Intrathecal Morphine in a Model of Surgical Pain in Rats.
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Thomas A, Miller A, Roughan J, Malik A, Haylor K, Sandersen C, Flecknell P, Leach M,


Thomas A, Miller A, Roughan J, Malik A, Haylor K, Sandersen C, Flecknell P, Leach M, (click to view)

Thomas A, Miller A, Roughan J, Malik A, Haylor K, Sandersen C, Flecknell P, Leach M,

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PloS one 2016 Oct 2611(10) e0163909 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0163909
Abstract

Concerns over interactions between analgesics and experimental outcomes are a major reason for withholding opioids from rats undergoing surgical procedures. Only a fraction of morphine injected intravenously reaches receptors responsible for analgesia in the central nervous system. Intrathecal administration of morphine may represent a way to provide rats with analgesia while minimizing the amount of morphine injected. This study aimed to assess whether morphine injected intrathecally via direct lumbar puncture provides sufficient analgesia to rats exposed to acute surgical pain (caudal laparotomy).In an initial blinded, randomised study, pain-free rats received morphine subcutaneously (MSC, 3mg.kg-1, N = 6), intrathecally (MIT, 0.2mg.kg-1, N = 6); NaCl subcutaneously (NSC, N = 6) or intrathecally (NIT, N = 6). Previously validated pain behaviours, activity and Rat Grimace Scale (RGS) scores were recorded at baseline, 1, 2, 4 and 8h post-injection. Morphine-treated rats had similar behaviours to NaCl rats, but their RGS scores were significantly different over time and between treatments. In a second blinded study, rats (N = 28) were randomly allocated to one of the following four treatments (N = 7): MSC, 3mg.kg-1, surgery; MIT, 0.2mg.kg-1, surgery; NIT, surgery; NSC, sham surgery. Composite Pain Behaviours (CPB) and RGS were recorded as previously. CPB in MIT and MSC groups were not significantly different to NSC group. MSC and MIT rats displayed significantly lower RGS scores than NIT rats at 1 and 8h postoperatively. RGS scores for MIT and MSC rats were not significantly different at 1, 2, and 8h postoperatively. Intraclass correlation value amongst operators involved in RGS scoring (N = 9) was 0.913 for total RGS score. Intrathecal morphine was mostly indistinguishable from its subcutaneous counterpart, providing pain relief lasting up to 8 hours in a rat model of surgical pain. Further studies are warranted to clarify the relevance of the rat grimace scale for assessing pain in rats that have received opioid analgesics.

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