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Preclinical Laboratory Services

Spinal Nerve Ligation

Peripheral Nerve Injury (PNI) Models of Neuropathic Pain

Spinal Nerve ligation (SNL) Model of Neuropathic Pain

In the SNL model of peripheral neuropathy, the L5 and L6 spinal nerves are isolated and can either be cut or tightly ligated with surgical silk. Axonal degeneration occurs, with all types of axons being approximately equally affected. Pronounced mechanical Allodynia follows, accompanied by spontaneous pain behaviors, cold Allodynia, which lasts for months with no recovery. 

In the SNL model, the L4-S2 spinous processes are exposed and part of the L6 transverse process is removed. Tight ligation occurs between L5 and L6. On day 1, inclusion/exclusion is performed based on placement of paw when walking. Two weeks later, pain threshold is tested using Von Frey and continues for length of study.


Model Specifications
  • Model length - up to 30 days
  • Positive controls: morphine, gabapentin, pregabalin
  • Readouts*: tactile allodynia (Von Frey)
  • Endpoints: histology, biomarker analysis (protein or mRNA levels in sciatic nerve or serum/plasma)


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Von Frey

Von Frey in the rat spinal nerve ligation (SNL) model

Von Frey measurements in the rat SNL (L5) model of peripheral nerve injury



  • Rat L5/L6
  • Rat L5 only
  • Mouse L5


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clinically relevant model of neuropathic pain





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