|dc.description.abstract||Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of injuries involving avulsion of
spinal roots from the brachial or lumbosacral plexuses. This results in chronic
intractable pain that is refractory to pharmacotherapy. This is largely due to lack of
information on underlying mechanisms, and lack of an established animal model to test
This thesis has: 1) compared the neuroanatomical effects of dorsal root rhizotomy
(DRR) and avulsion (DRA) in the spinal cord. DRR is commonly used to model
avulsion injury but unlike avulsion it does not damage the spinal cord, as often happens
clinically. 2) Developed a behavioural model of spinal root avulsion injury (SRA). 3)
Evaluated the behavioural effects of drugs prescribed to treat neuropathic pain or those
used clinically to treat other conditions like motoneuron disease or spinal cord injury.
DRA produced a greater and prolonged glial, inflammatory, vascular response and cell
loss than DRR. SRA produced thermal and mechanical hypersensitivity in the affected
hind-paw. Neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory responses were observed in both
the avulsed and adjacent spinal segments, but produced no changes in the neuronal
phenotype adjacent dorsal root ganglion neurons, suggesting that the evoked behaviour
is mediated by central mechanisms.
Administration of amitriptyline or carbamazepine reduced behavioural hypersensitivity
in SRA, confirming their limited clinical efficacy in treatment of avulsion injury.
Minocycline and riluzole produced therapeutic efficacy. Both compounds prevented the
establishment of behavioural hypersensitivity, which correlated histologically with
microglial inhibition, although riluzole was transiently effective. Additionally,
minocycline reversed the hypersensitivity, an effect that persisted beyond drug washout,
whereas riluzole had a limited effect that only lasted whilst the drug was
This thesis provides insight into the mechanisms of avulsion-induced neuropathic pain.
The establishment of a behaviourally reproducible avulsion model provides a platform
to test new pharmacological candidates for treatment, such as minocycline.||en_US