Jumping in aquatic environment after sciatic nerve compression: nociceptive evaluation and morphological characteristics of the soleus muscle of Wistar rats

ABSTRACT Objective To evaluate the effect of jumping in aquatic environment on nociception and in the soleus muscle of trained and not trained Wistar rats, in the treatment of compressive neuropathy of the sciatic nerve. Methods Twenty-five Wistar rats were distributed into five groups: Control, Lesion, Trained + Lesion, Lesion + Exercise, and Trained + Lesion + Exercise. The training was jumping exercise in water environment for 20 days prior to injury, and treatment after the injury. Nociception was evaluated in two occasions, before injury and seven after injury. On the last day of the experiment, the right soleus muscles were collected, processed and analyzed as to morphology and morphometry. Results In the assessment of nociception in the injury site, the Control Group had higher average than the rest, and the Lesion Group was larger than the Trained + Lesion and Lesion + Exercise Groups. The Control Group showed higher nociceptive threshold in paw, compared to the others. In the morphometric analysis, in relation to Control Group, all the injured groups showed decreased muscle fiber area, and in the Lesion Group was lower than in the Lesion + Exercise Group and Trained + Lesion Group. Considering the diameter of the muscle fiber, the Control Group had a higher average than the Trained + Lesion Group and the Trained + Lesion + Exercise Group; and the Lesion Group showed an average lower than the Trained + Lesion and Lesion + Exercise Groups. Conclusion Resistance exercise produced increased nociception. When performed prior or after nerve damage, it proved effective in avoiding hypotrophy. The combination of the two protocols led to decrease in diameter and area of the muscle fiber.