BACKGROUND: Trigeminal neuropathic pain attacks can be excruciating for patients, even after being lightly touched. Although there are rodent trigeminal nerve research models to study orofacial pain, few models have been applied to studies in mice. A mouse trigeminal inflammatory compression (TIC) model is introduced here which successfully and reliably promotes vibrissal whisker pad hypersensitivity.

RESULTS: The chronic orofacial neuropathic pain model is induced after surgical placement of chromic gut suture in the infraorbital nerve fissure in the maxillary bone. Slight compression and chemical effects of the chromic gut suture on the portion of the infraorbital nerve contacted cause mild nerve trauma. Nerve edema is observed in the contacting infraorbital nerve bundle as well as macrophage infiltration in the trigeminal ganglia. Centrally in the spinal trigeminal nucleus, increased immunoreactivity for an activated microglial marker is evident (OX42, postoperative day 70). Mechanical thresholds of the affected whisker pad are significantly decreased on day 3 after chromic gut suture placement, persisting at least 10 weeks. The mechanical allodynia is reversed by suppression of microglial activation. Cold allodynia was detected at 4 weeks.

CONCLUSIONS: A simple, effective, and reproducible chronic mouse model mimicking clinical orofacial neuropathic pain (Type 2) is induced by placing chromic gut suture between the infraorbital nerve and the maxillary bone. The method produces mild inflammatory compression with significant continuous mechanical allodynia persisting at least 10 weeks and cold allodynia measureable at 4 weeks.

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Published in Molecular Brain, v. 5, 44.

© 2012 Ma et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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