Miho Sekiguchi, Shin-ichi Konno, Shin-ichi Kikuchi


February 2008, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 307 - 313 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-007-0534-4

First Online: 01 November 2007

Blood vessel clots are found around the nerve root in patients with lumbar disc herniation. Thrombosis formation in the experimental application of nucleus pulposus to the nerve root has been shown in histological studies. In addition, reduction of blood flow and nerve conduction velocity are induced by the application of nucleus pulposus, which mimics lumbar disc herniation. In patients with lumbar disc herniation, nerve root block, which is thought to increase nerve blood flow, improves radiculopathy. 5-HT2A receptor antagonists are used in chronic arterial occlusive diseases to improve blood flow and have been reported to work as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in improving radiculopathy due to lumbar disc herniation in clinical studies. This study investigated the effects of a 5-HT2A receptor antagonist on blood vessel diameter and blood flow in a canine experimental model of lumbar disc herniation. A total of 13 dogs were used. The animals were divided into three experimental groups and surgery was performed 1 week before measurements. In the nucleus pulposus group (NP; n = 5), the nucleus pulposus was applied to the nerve roots from the ventral side. In the sham group (n = 5), nucleus pulposus was not applied. In the naïve group (n = 3), the animals did not undergo surgery. Measurements of vessel diameter and blood flow were done before and after administration of saline and drugs. The diameters and blood flow volume of the observed blood vessels were measured on video-recordings every 10 min for 65 min. In all groups, vessel diameter and blood flow did not change before or after administration of saline. In the NP and sham groups, vessel diameter and blood flow increased significantly after administration of 5-HTRA compared with the naïve group. 5-HTRA improved blood vessel diameter and blood flow in the nerve roots inflamed by the application of nucleus pulposus but not in the intact nerve roots. 5-HTRA might be a potential agent to improve blood flow in the nerve roots of patients with lumbar disc herniation.


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