CR4056, (2-phenyl-6-(1H-imidazol-1yl) quinazoline), an imidazoline-2 (I2) receptor ligand, is a promising analgesic drug that has been reported to be effective in several animal models of pain. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of CR4056 in two well-established rat models of osteoarthritis (OA), mimicking the painful and structural components of human OA.
Knee OA was induced either by single intra-articular injection of monoiodoacetate (MIA) or by medial meniscal tear (MMT) in the right knee of male rats. In the MIA model, allodynia and hyperalgesia were measured as paw withdrawal threshold to mechanical stimulation. In the MMT model, pain behavior was analyzed as weight-bearing asymmetry (i.e. difference in hind paw weight distribution, HPWD) between the injured and the contralateral limbs.
Acute oral administration of CR4056, 14 days after MIA injection, significantly and dose-dependently reduced allodynia and hyperalgesia 90 minutes after treatment, whereas acute naproxen administration significantly reduced allodynia but not hyperalgesia. After 7 days of repeated treatment, both CR4056 and naproxen showed significant anti-allodynic and anti-hyperalgesic effects in the MIA model. Rats undergoing MMT surgery developed a significant and progressive asymmetry in HPWD compared with sham-operated animals. Repeated treatment with CR4056 significantly reduced the progression of the pain behavior, whereas naproxen had no effects.