Partial Sciatic Nerve Ligation: A Mouse Model of Chronic Neuropathic Pain to Study the Antinociceptive Effect of Novel Therapies

Hannah E. Korah, Kevin Cheng, Stephanie M. Washington, Matthew E. Flowers, Harrison J. Stratton, Amol Patwardhan, Mohab M. Ibrahim, Laurent F. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Management of chronic pain remains challenging to this day, and current treatments are associated with adverse effects, including tolerance and addiction. Chronic neuropathic pain results from lesions or diseases in the somatosensory system. To investigate potential therapies with reduced side effects, animal pain models are the gold standard in preclinical studies. Therefore, well-characterized and well-described models are crucial for the development and validation of innovative therapies. Partial ligation of the sciatic nerve (pSNL) is a procedure that induces chronic neuropathic pain in mice, characterized by mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity, ongoing pain, and changes in limb temperature, making this model a great fit to study neuropathic pain preclinically. pSNL is an advantageous model to study neuropathic pain as it reproduces many symptoms observed in humans with neuropathic pain. Furthermore, the surgical procedure is relatively fast and straightforward to perform. Unilateral pSNL of one limb allows for comparison between the ipsilateral and contralateral paws, as well as evaluation of central sensitization. To induce chronic neuropathic hypersensitivity, a 9-0 non-absorbable nylon thread is used to ligate the dorsal third of the sciatic nerve. This article describes the surgical procedure and characterizes the development of chronic neuropathic pain through multiple commonly used behavioral tests. As a plethora of innovative therapies are now being investigated to treat chronic pain, this article provides crucial concepts for standardization and an accurate description of surgeries required to induce neuropathic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number188
StatePublished - Oct 6 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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