Cancer chemotherapy with platinum-based antineoplastic agents including oxaliplatin frequently results in a debilitating and painful peripheral neuropathy. We evaluated the antinociceptive effects of the alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonist, clonidine on oxaliplatin-induced neuropathic pain. Specifically, we determined if (i) the intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of clonidine reduces mechanical allodynia in mice with an oxaliplatin-induced neuropathy and (ii) concurrent inhibition of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity by the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 enhances clonidine's antiallodynic effect. Clonidine (0.01-0.1 mg kg-1, i.p.), with or without SB203580(1-10 nmol, intrathecal) was administered two weeks after oxaliplatin injection(10 mg kg-1, i.p.) to mice. Mechanical withdrawal threshold, motor coordination and blood pressure were measured. Postmortem expression of p38 MAPK and ERK as well as their phosphorylated forms(p-p38 and p-ERK) were quantified 30 min or 4 hr after drug injection in the spinal cord dorsal horn of treated and control mice. Clonidine dose-dependently reduced oxaliplatin-induced mechanical allodynia and spinal p-p38 MAPK expression, but not p-ERK. At 0.1 mg kg-1, clonidine also impaired motor coordination and decreased blood pressure. A 10 nmol dose of SB203580 alone significantly reduced mechanical allodynia and p-p38 MAPK expression, while a subeffective dose(3 nmol) potentiated the antiallodynic effect of 0.03 mg kg-1 clonidine and reduced the increased p-p38 MAPK. Coadministration of SB203580 and 0.03 mg kg-1 clonidine decreased allodynia similar to that of 0.10 mg kg-1 clonidine, but without significant motor or vascular effects. These findings demonstrate that clonidine treatment reduces oxaliplatin-induced mechanical allodynia. The concurrent administration of SB203580 reduces the dosage requirements for clonidine, thereby alleviating allodynia without producing undesirable motor or cardiovascular effects.
- mechanical allodynia
- p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases