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.

Read more

Walker et al.
Neurotoxicology November 2021