Histologic evidence of the comparative neurotoxicity of lidocaine, mepivacaine, and prilocaine is incomplete. We compared the intrathecal neurotoxicity in rats among these 3 drugs based on morphologic and neurofunctional findings. Rats (n = 169) randomly received 0.12 μL/g of 0%, 2%, 5%, 7.5%, 10%, or 20% lidocaine, mepivacaine, or prilocaine or 25% glucose dissolved in distilled water via a chronically implanted intrathecal catheter. The effect of the agents on neurofunction was evaluated by movement of the hind limb (behavior test) and by sensory threshold (paw-stimulation test). The L1 spinal cord, the posterior and anterior roots, and the cauda equina were removed en bloc 5 days later and examined by light and electron microscopy. A significant decrease in sensory threshold or irreversible hind-limb limitation was observed only in rats receiving 20% lidocaine. Morphologic abnormalities characterized by axonal degeneration were observed in rats receiving ≥7.5% lidocaine, 20% mepivacaine, and 20% prilocaine, at the posterior white matter and the proximal portion of the posterior root just at the entrance into the spinal cord. The incidence of lesions was significantly higher in rats receiving lidocaine than mepivacaine and prilocaine. It is suggested that intrathecal mepivacaine and prilocaine are less neurotoxic than highly concentrated lidocaine in a rat intrathecal model.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine