Department of Neuroscience & Experimental Therapeutics, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY, United States; Department of Neurosurgery, Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY, United States. Electronic address: [Email]
Chronic pain is the most common non-motor symptom among Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, with 1.85 million estimated to be in debilitating pain by 2030. Subthalamic deep brain stimulation (STN DBS) programmed for treating PD motor symptoms has also been shown to significantly improve pain scores. However, even though most patients' pain symptoms improve or disappear, 74% of patients treated develop new pain symptoms within 8 years. Previously we have shown that duloxetine and STN high frequency stimulation (HFS) significantly increase mechanical thresholds more than either alone. The current project specifically investigates the effects of gabapentin and morphine alone and with high (150 Hz; HFS) and low (50 Hz; LFS) frequency stimulation in the 6-hydroxydopamine rat model for PD. We found that HFS, LFS, gabapentin 15 mg/kg and morphine 1 mg/kg all independently improve von Frey (VF) thresholds. Neither drug augments the HFS response significantly. Morphine at 1 mg/kg showed a trend to increasing thresholds compared to LFS alone (p = 0.062). Interestingly, gabapentin significantly reduced (p = 0.019) the improved VF thresholds and Randall Selitto thresholds seen with LFS. Thus, though neither drug augments DBS, we found effects of both compounds independently increase VF thresholds, informing use of our model of chronic pain in PD. Gabapentin's reversal of LFS effects warrants further exploration.