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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2015, Article ID 438319, 6 pages
Research Article

Contralateral Metabolic Activation Related to Plastic Changes in the Spinal Cord after Peripheral Nerve Injury in Rats

1Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, Division of Health Sciences, Dongseo University, Busan 617-716, Republic of Korea
2Department of Physiology, Brain Research Institute, Epilepsy Research Institute, Brain Korea 21 PLUS Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Republic of Korea

Received 13 February 2015; Revised 5 May 2015; Accepted 5 May 2015

Academic Editor: Michael G. Stewart

Copyright © 2015 Ran Won and Bae Hwan Lee. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We have previously reported the crossed-withdrawal reflex in which the rats with nerve injury developed behavioral pain responses of the injured paw to stimuli applied to the contralateral uninjured paw. This reflex indicates that contralateral plastic changes may occur in the spinal cord after unilateral nerve injury. The present study was performed to elucidate the mechanisms and morphological correlates underlying the crossed-withdrawal reflex by using quantitative 14C-2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) autoradiography which can examine metabolic activities and spatial patterns simultaneously. Under pentobarbital anesthesia, rats were subjected to unilateral nerve injury. Mechanical allodynia was tested for two weeks after nerve injury. After nerve injury, neuropathic pain behaviors developed progressively. The crossed-withdrawal reflex was observed at two weeks postoperatively. Contralateral enhancement of 2-DG uptake in the ventral horn of the spinal cord to electrical stimulation of the uninjured paw was observed. These results suggest that the facilitation of information processing from the uninjured side to the injured side may contribute to the crossed-withdrawal reflex by plastic changes in the spinal cord of nerve-injured rats.