Effects of High-Voltage Pulsed Radiofrequency on the Ultrastructure and Nav1.7 Level of the Dorsal Root Ganglion in Rats With Spared Nerve Injury

Published:June 13, 2022DOI:



      To investigate the analgesic effect of high-voltage pulsed radiofrequency (HV-PRF) on the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) for neuropathic pain induced by spared nerve injury (SNI) in rats, especially the influence of this treatment on the DRG ultrastructure and voltage-gated sodium channel 1.7 (Nav1.7) level in the DRG.

      Materials and Methods

      One hundred fifty adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into five groups: Sham, SNI, Free-PRF, standard-voltage PRF (SV-PRF), and HV-PRF. The 45V-PRF and 85V-PRF procedures applied to the left L5 DRG were performed in SV-PRF group and the HV-PRF group, respectively, on day 7 after SNI, whereas no PRF was concurrently delivered in Free-PRF group. The paw mechanical withdrawal threshold (PMWT) was detected before SNI (baseline) and on days 1, 3, 7, 8, 10, 14, and 21. The changes of left L5 DRG ultrastructure were analyzed with transmission electron microscopy on days 14 and 21. The expression levels of Nav1.7 in left L5 DRG were detected by immunofluorescence and Western blot.


      Compared with the Free-PRF group, PMWT in the SV-PRF group and HV-PRF group were both significantly increased after PRF (all p < 0.05). Meanwhile, the PMWT was significantly higher in the HV-PRF group than that in the SV-PRF group on days 14 and 21 (all p < 0.05). There were statistically significant differences between the SV-PRF and Free-PRF groups (p < 0.05). Similarly, statistically significant difference was found between the HV-PRF and Free-PRF groups (p < 0.05). Especially, comparison of the SV-PRF group and the HV-PRF group revealed statistically significant difference (p < 0.05). The Nav1.7 levels were significantly downregulated in the SV-PRF group and HV-PRF groups compared to that in the Free-PRF group (all p < 0.01). A significantly lower Nav1.7 level was also found in the HV-PRF group compared to that in the SV-PRF group (p < 0.05).


      The HV-PRF produces a better analgesic effect than SV-PRF applied to the DRG in SNI rats. The underlying mechanisms may be associated with improving the histopathological prognosis and the downregulation of Nav1.7 levels in the DRG.


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