, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 89–97 | Cite as

Possible mechanism of protective effect of thalidomide in STZ-induced-neuropathic pain behavior in rats

  • Rajeev Taliyan
  • Pyare Lal Sharma
Research Article



Diabetes-induced neuropathic pain is recognized as one of the most difficult type of pain to treat and conventional analgesics are well known to be partially effective or associated with potential toxicity. Recently, it has been demonstrated that thalidomide, besides its teratogenic potential, reduced chronic pain in an SNL experimental pain model.


The present study was designed to investigate the effect of thalidomide on streptozotocin (STZ)-induced neuropathic pain in rats.

Materials and methods

Streptozotocin (20 mg/kg, i.p, daily × 4 days) was administered to induce diabetes in the rats. Nociceptive latency was measured using tail-flick and paw-withdrawal test. Thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia were measured using planter test and dynamic aesthesiometer (Ugo-Basile, Italy), respectively. Urinary and serum nitrite concentration was estimated using Greiss reagent method. Spleen homogenate supernatant was prepared from spleen of 28th day diabetic rats and administered to normal rats (400 ul, i.v) daily for 28 days.


Pain threshold progressively decreased in STZ-treated rats, as compared with control rats. 3 weeks after induction of diabetes, the rat exhibited thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia. The analgesic effect of morphine (8 mg/kg, s.c.) was significantly decreased in both diabetic and in SHS-treated non-diabetic rats. Administration of thalidomide (25 and 50 mg/kg, i.p), a TNF-α inhibitor, significantly prevented hyperglycemia-induced thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia and also attenuated the increase in serum and urinary nitrite concentration, as compared with untreated diabetic rats. Also, thalidomide (25 and 50 mg/kg, i.p) 1 h before or concurrently with morphine significantly restored the analgesic effect of morphine in diabetic rats.


It may be concluded that thalidomide has a beneficial effect in neuropathic pain by decreasing cytokines (TNF-α) and nitric oxide level and may provide a novel promising therapeutic approach for managing painful diabetic neuropathy.


Spleen homogenate supernatant (SHS) Streptozotocin (STZ) Hyperalgesia Neuropathic pain Nitric oxide Hyperglycemia 



This work is dedicated to the fond memory of our esteemed colleague, Prof Manjeet Singh who expired while this work was in progress. The author’s are also grateful to Mr. Parveen Garg, Chairmen-ISF College–Moga, India, for providing research fund and facilities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.I.S.F College of Pharmacy-MogaMogaIndia
  2. 2.KIET School of PharmacyGhaziabadIndia

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