Author(s): Peter W Reeh
This study on neurogenic inflammation aimed at comparing the effects of antidromic nerve stimulation and of cutaneous application of mustard oil on the mechanical and thermal sensitivity of cutaneous C-fibres in the rat saphenous nerve. They were tested with von Frey hairs and series of radiant heat stimuli in 5-min intervals before and after one of the above treatments. Antidromic electrical stimulation was effective in evoking a plasma extravasation in the saphenous region as revealed by prior intravenous injection of Evans blue. However, it did not evoke spontaneous activity in the polymodal C-fibres tested nor did it markedly affect their mechanical and thermal excitability in periods of up to 1 h after stimulation. Mustard oil, topically applied to the receptive fields, also evoked localized Evans blue extravasation and strongly affected the C-units. They responded to the application of the irritant with sustained firing; most units showed an increased thermal sensitivity after the treatment. This involved a lowering of the threshold and an increase of the suprathreshold discharge. Even low threshold mechanosensitive C-fibres transiently developed heat sensitivity. In some polymodal units a transient sensitization was followed by a persistent desensitization which abolished their thermal and mechanical sensitivity. Mustard oil application and antidromic nerve stimulation seem to be similar in evoking cutaneous vasodilation and plasma extravasation but different in inducing nociceptor sensitization.