Spinally-administered local anesthetics provide effective perioperative anesthesia and/or analgesia for children of all ages. New preparations and drugs require preclinical safety testing in developmental models. We evaluated age-dependent efficacy and safety following 1 % preservative-free 2-chloroprocaine (2-CP) in juvenile Sprague-Dawley rats. Percutaneous lumbar intrathecal 2-CP was administered at postnatal day (P)7, 14 or 21. Mechanical withdrawal threshold pre- and post-injection evaluated the degree and duration of sensory block, compared to intrathecal saline and naive controls. Tissue analyses one- or seven-days following injection included histopathology of spinal cord, cauda equina and brain sections, and quantification of neuronal apoptosis and glial reactivity in lumbar spinal cord. Following intrathecal 2-CP or saline at P7, outcomes assessed between P30 and P72 included: spinal reflex sensitivity (hindlimb thermal latency, mechanical threshold); social approach (novel rat versus object); locomotor activity and anxiety (open field with brightly-lit center); exploratory behavior (rearings, holepoking); sensorimotor gating (acoustic startle, prepulse inhibition); and learning (Morris Water Maze). Maximum tolerated doses of intrathecal 2-CP varied with age (1.0 μL/g at P7, 0.75 μL/g at P14, 0.5 μL/g at P21) and produced motor and sensory block for 10-15 min. Tissue analyses found no significant differences across intrathecal 2-CP, saline or naïve groups. Adult behavioral measures showed expected sex-dependent differences, that did not differ between 2-CP and saline groups. Single maximum tolerated in vivo doses of intrathecal 2-CP produced reversible spinal anesthesia in juvenile rodents without detectable evidence of developmental neurotoxicity. Current results cannot be extrapolated to repeated dosing or prolonged infusion.
Walker et al.
Neurotoxicology November 2021