Blaney, A., Jampachaisri, K., Huss, M. K. et al. 2021. Sustained release buprenorphine effectively attenuates postoperative hypersensitivity in an incisional pain model in neonatal rats (Rattus norvegicus). PLoS ONE 16(2), e0246213.
Despite the need for safe and effective postoperative analgesia in neonates, research regarding pain management in neonatal rodents is relatively limited. Here, we investigate whether sustained release buprenorphine (Bup SR) effectively attenuates thermal hypersensitivity in a neonatal rat model of incisional pain. Male and female postnatal day 3 Sprague Dawley rat pups (n = 34) were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups: 1) saline (control), 0.1 mL, once subcutaneously (SC); 2) buprenorphine HCl (Bup HCl), 0.05 mg/kg, once SC; 3) low dose Bup SR (low-SR), 0.5 mg/kg, once SC; 4) high dose Bup SR (high-SR), 1 mg/kg, once SC. Pups were anesthetized with sevoflurane and a 0.5-cm long skin incision was made over the left lateral thigh. The underlying muscle was dissected and closed using surgical glue. Thermal hypersensitivity testing was performed at 24 h prior to surgery and subsequently at 1, 4, 8, 24, and 48 h post-surgery using an infrared diode laser. Thermal hypersensitivity was attenuated at 1 h post-surgery in the Bup HCl group, while it was attenuated through the entire postoperative period in both low-SR and high-SR groups. This data suggests that a single dose of low-SR (0.5 mg/kg) or high-SR (1 mg/kg) effectively attenuates thermal hypersensitivity for at least 8 h in neonatal rat pups.