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Effects of ketamine on formalin-induced activity in the spinal dorsal horn of spinal cord-transected cats: differences in response to intravenous ketamine administered before and after formalin

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Although formalin has been widely used as an algesic substance in rodent studies, the unique biphasic effect seen in rats is not present in humans. Humans, like cats, have a monophasic behavioral response to formalin injection. Electrophysiologically, spinal dorsal horn neurons in cats also have what could be considered a monophasic response after the initial burst of activity following formalin injection. Although several studies of the effects of ketamine on formalin responses have been carried out in rodents, we are unaware of similar studies in cats. We hypothesize that such species differences may explain observed differences in preemptive analgesic effects. Therefore, we examined the effects of ketamine on activity of spinal wide dynamic range (WDR) neurons evoked by formalin injection in cats. Methods:

We investigated in cats the effect of ketamine on the activity of WDR neurons in the spinal dorsal horn that was evoked by formalin. In addition, we studied the effects of pre- and post-administration of ketamine on the maintained phase of the formalin response. Each dose was a subanesthetic, anesthetic or high anesthetic dose (3.0 mg · kg−1, 10 mg · kg−1, and 30 mg · kg−1). Results:

Intravenously administered ketamine produced a dose-dependent depression of evoked activity that was significantly greater when the drug was administered before formalin. Conclusions:

In spite of the species differences in responses to formalin, there still appears to be a clear preemptive effect of ketamine in the cat. Species differences may not explain apparent differences between human and animal preemptive analgesia.

Keywords: Ketamine; cat; formalin test; spinal cord; wide dynamic range (WDR) neuron

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Anesthesiology, Saitama Medical School and 2: Department of Anesthesiology, Koshigaya Hospital, Dokkyo University School of Medicine, Japan

Publication date: September 1, 2000


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