Effect of sodium channel blocker (mexiletine) on pathological ectopic firing pattern in a rat chronic constriction nerve injury model

J Orthop Sci. 2005;10(3):315-20.
We studied the efficacy of mexiletine as a sodium channel blocker for neuropathic pain by investigating the effect of mexiletine on the pathological ectopic firing pattern in a chronic constriction nerve injury (CCI) model. The experiment was conducted with 60 male Wistar rats. The CCI model was created by loosely ligating the sciatic nerve. After breeding 7 days, the frequency and pattern of ectopic firing antidromically recorded from the sural nerve and the amplitude of antidromic sensory nerve-evoked potential were analyzed. The CCI rats were given an intravenous injection of normal saline and mexiletine (5 or 15 mg/kg). Mexiletine significantly suppressed spontaneous firing frequency, an on-off firing pattern that consisted of cyclic bursting spikes and ectopic firing generation under the hypoxic condition. Mexiletine did not influence the amplitude of A-delta component in the antidromic sensory nerve-evoked potential. Mexiletine suppressed ectopic firing by blocking activity of the abnormal sodium channel at the nerve-injured site and dorsal root ganglion without blocking nerve conduction. This study suggests that mexiletine is useful for treating neuropathic pain in peripheral neuropathy.

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