To evaluate the analgesic effectiveness of intra-articular botulinum toxin Type B (BoNT/B) in a murine model of chronic degenerative arthritis pain.
Chronic arthritis was produced in adult C57Bl6 mice by intra-articular injection of Type IV collagenase into the left knee. Following induction of arthritis, the treatment group received intra-articular BoNT/B. Arthritic control groups were treated with intra-articular normal saline or sham injections. Pain behavior testing was performed prior to arthritis, after induction of arthritis, and following treatments. Pain behavior measures included analysis of gait impairment (spontaneous pain behavior) and joint tenderness evaluation (evoked pain response). Strength was measured as ability to grasp and cling.
Visual gait analysis showed significant impairment of gait in arthritic mice that improved 43% after intra-articular BoNT/B, demonstrating a substantial articular analgesic effect. Joint tenderness, measured with evoked pain response scores, increased with arthritis induction and decreased 49.5% after intra-articular BoNT/B treatment. No improvement in visual gait scores or decrease in evoked pain response scores were found in the control groups receiving intra-articular normal saline or sham injections. Intra-articular BoNT/B was safe, and no systemic effects or limb weakness was noted.
This study is the first report of intra-articular BoNT/B for analgesia in a murine model of arthritis pain. The results of this study validate prior work using intra-articular neurotoxins in murine models. Our findings show chronic degenerative arthritis pain can be quantitated in a murine model by measuring gait impairment using visual gait analysis scores (spontaneous pain behavior) and joint tenderness scores (evoked pain responses). Reduction of joint pain seen in this study is consistent with our hypothesis of inhibition of release of pain mediators by intra-articular BoNT/B, supporting further investigation of this novel approach to treatment of arthritis pain with intra-articular neurotoxins.