Neuropathic pain is a chronic symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS) and affects nearly half of all MS sufferers. A key instigator of this pain is the pro-inflammatory response in MS. We investigated the behavioral effects of immunization with a mutant peptide of myelin basic protein (MBP), termed altered peptide ligand (APL), known to initiate immune deviation from a pro-inflammatory state to an anti-inflammatory response in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS. Male and female Lewis rats were injected with vehicle control or with varying doses of 50 or 100 μg guinea pig MBP in combination with or without APL. APL-treated animals established significantly lower disease severity compared to encephalitogenic MBP-treated animals. Animals with EAE developed mechanical, but not thermal pain hypersensitivity. Mechanical pain sensitivities were either improved or normalized during periods of clinical disease in male and female APL-treated animals as compared to the encephalitogenic group. No significant changes to thermal latency were observed upon co-immunization with APL. Together these data indicate that APL ameliorates disease states and selectively mediates an analgesic effect on EAE animals.
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- experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
- altered peptide ligand
- multiple sclerosis
- mechanical allodynia
- thermal hyperalgesia