Sciatic inflammatory neuropathy in the rat: surgical procedures, induction of inflammation, and behavioral testing.
Peripheral nerve damage involves inflammation, and is frequently causal to the development of neuropathic pain. However, inflammatory neuropathies often occur in the absence of trauma. We have recently developed an animal model of neuropathic pain where allodynia is induced by nerve inflammation rather than injury. This sciatic inflammatory neuropathy (SIN) model was developed to understand immunologic, neuropathic, and spinal mechanisms underlying allodynia in the territory of the sciatic nerve as well as in extraterritorial and contralateral ("mirror image") sites. A specially designed indwelling catheter system allows immune activators to be selectively injected around one healthy sciatic nerve in awake, behaving rats. Here, we provide detailed procedures on the construction and implantation of chronic indwelling perisciatic catheters used to create SIN. Detailed procedures for implantation of intrathecal catheters via a lumbar vertebra 5 and 6 approach in the same rat are also provided. Methods for testing allodynia and for data analysis are additionally described so to provide all the steps needed for behavioral experimentation.