This study characterised the effects of persistent peripheral inflammation of the foot on pain and spinal cord expression of cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 (COX-1 and COX-2) and early growth response gene 1 (Egr-1), known markers of neuronal plasticity, in a clinical model of naturally-occurring inflammatory disease and hyperalgesia in sheep (’footrot’), before and after routine treatment (parenteral treatment with antibiotics and antiseptic footbathing). The temporal pattern of expression of COX-1, COX-2 and Egr-1 mRNA and protein were analysed using real-time PCR and Western blotting. Animals affected with persistent peripheral inflammation displayed significant hyperalgesia and lameness (a proxy indicator of spontaneous pain) restricted to the inflamed limb. Hyperalgesia and lameness were significantly attenuated 1 day after treatment, and resolved further by day 7 and day 3, respectively. COX-2 but not COX-1, protein expression was up-regulated in spinal cord from lame animals on day 0, before treatment. Following treatment and attenuation of pain behaviours, levels of COX-2 returned to control levels.
- spinal cord