Chronic blockade of interleukin-1 (IL-1) prevents and attenuates neuropathic pain behavior and spontaneous ectopic neuronal activity following nerve injury

Eran Gabay, Gilly Wolf, Yehuda Shavit, Raz Yirmiya, Michael Tal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Neuropathic pain is a chronic pain state resulting from peripheral nerve injury, characterized by hyperalgesia and allodynia. We have reported that mice with genetic impairment of IL-1 signaling display attenuated neuropathic pain behavior and ectopic neuronal activity. In order to substantiate the role of IL-1 in neuropathic pain, WT mice were implanted subcutaneously with osmotic micropumps containing either IL-1ra or vehicle. Two days following the implantation, two models of neuropathic pain were used; partial nerve injury (spinal nerve transection, SNT), or complete nerve cut (spinal neuroma model). Mechanosensitivity was assessed seven consecutive days following SNT, and on day 7 recordings of spontaneous ectopic activity were performed. In the spinal nerve neuroma model, autotomy scores were recorded up to 35 days. Vehicle-treated mice developed significant allodynia and autotomy, and clear ectopic activity (4.1 ± 1.1% of the axons); whereas IL-1ra-treated mice did not display allodynic response, displayed delayed onset of autotomy and markedly reduced severity of autotomy scores, and displayed reduced spontaneous activity (0.8 ± 0.4% of the axons). To test whether IL-1 is involved in maintenance of mechanical allodynia, a separate group of WT mice was treated with a single injection of either saline or IL-1ra four days following SNT, after the allodynic response was already manifested. Whereas saline-treated mice displayed robust allodynia, acute IL-1ra treatment induced long-lasting attenuation of the allodynic response. The results support our hypothesis that IL-1 signaling plays an important role in neuropathic pain and in the ectopic neuronal activity that underling its development.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)242-248
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partly supported by a grant from the Israel Science Foundation ( 616/02, MT ), The Charles H. Revson Foundation of the Israel Science Foundation ( Grant Nos. 799/03, RY and YS ), and by a grant from the Israel Foundations Trustees (GW). This work was facilitated by the Leon and Clara Sznajderman Chair of Psychology (YS). We thank Prof. K. Iverfeldt for the IL-1raTG mice, and Amgen Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, for the generous gift of IL-1ra. M. T, Y. S, and R. Y are members of the Hebrew University Center for Research on Pain.


  • IL-1ra
  • Interleukin-1
  • Mechanosensitivity
  • Nerve injury
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Spontaneous ectopic activity
  • Spontaneous pain


Dive into the research topics of 'Chronic blockade of interleukin-1 (IL-1) prevents and attenuates neuropathic pain behavior and spontaneous ectopic neuronal activity following nerve injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this