Cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine (citicoline) has been shown to have beneficial effects in central nervous system injury as well as in motoric functional recovery after peripheral nerve injury. This study aimed to examine the effect of citicoline on prevention of neuropathic pain in a rat model of sciatic nerve crush injury.
Forty experimental rats were divided into four groups. In three groups, the right sciatic nerves were crushed in the mid-thigh region, and a gelatin sponge moistened with 0.4 or 0.8 mL of 100 µmol/L citicoline, or saline 0.4 mL in the control group, was applied. The fourth group of rats was sham-operated, ie the sciatic nerve was exposed with no crush. Functional assessments were performed 4 weeks after crush injury. von Frey filaments (100 g threshold) were used to assess neuropathic pain. In addition, the sciatic functional index and extensor postural thrust (EPT) tests were used to assess motoric function.
The crush/citicoline 0.4 mL group had a lower percentage of pain (23.53%, n=17) compared with the crush/saline group (53.33%, n=15, P<0.005). The crush/citicoline 0.4 mL group also showed better motoric recovery, as seen in stronger EPT results ( P<0.001). However, the sciatic functional index analysis did not show significant differences between groups ( P=0.35). The crush/citicoline 0.8 mL group showed a higher percentage of pain (66.67%, n=18) and less EPT recovery. These results may be explained by more severe nerve injury due to compression with a larger administered volume.