Loss of intraepidermal nerve fibers (IENFs) has been speculated to play a critical role in the development of various neuropathies. In this study, the density of IENFs were studied over time during the induction of Taxol (Bristol-Myers Squibb, NY, USA)-induced chemoneuropathy and compared with the changes in IENFs in animals co-treated with Taxol plus the protective agent minocycline. Rats were injected (intraperitoneally) with 2mg/kg of Taxol every other day for four injections (day 1, 3, 5, and 7). Minocycline (25mg/kg) was given in a separate group of rats 24h prior to the first dose of Taxol and every day for the next 9days (day 0 through 9). Animals were tested for mechanical paw withdrawal thresholds prior to any drug administrations and again on day 7, 14, and 30. Immunohistochemistry using the pan-neuronal marker protein gene product 9.5 was performed on glabrous skin of the hind-paw foot pad to stain for IENFs also on day 7, 14, and 30. The results show that Taxol-treated animals developed mechanical sensitivity and corresponding IENF loss. Animals receiving minocycline plus Taxol showed no hyperalgesia or loss of IENFs. This study confirms, for the first time, that a loss of IENFs occurs as a neuropathy develops, and further shows a protection against both IENF loss and hyperalgesia with minocycline treatment. The progression of Taxol-induced mechanical hypersensitivity coincides with loss of intraepidermal nerve fibers, and the hyperalgesia and nerve fiber loss were prevented with minocycline treatment. Copyright Â© 2010 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.