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Papers of the Week

2019 Aug-Dec

Neurobiol Pain


Chronic pain after blast-induced traumatic brain injury in awake rats.


Uddin O, Studlack PE, Parihar S, Keledjian K, Cruz A, Farooq T, Shin N, Gerzanich V, Simard MJ, Keller A
Neurobiol Pain. 2019 Aug-Dec; 6:100030.
PMID: 31223145.


Explosive blast-induced traumatic brain injury (blast-TBI) in military personnel is a leading cause of injury and persistent neurological abnormalities, including chronic pain. We previously demonstrated that chronic pain after spinal cord injury results from central sensitization in the posterior thalamus (PO). The presence of persistent headaches and back pain in veterans with blast-TBI suggests a similar involvement of thalamic sensitization. Here, we tested the hypothesis that pain after blast-TBI is associated with abnormal increases in activity of neurons in PO thalamus. We developed a novel model with two unique features: (1) blast-TBI was performed in awake, un-anesthetized rats, to simulate the human experience and to eliminate confounds of anesthesia and surgery inherent in other models; (2) only the cranium, rather than the entire body, was exposed to a collimated blast wave, with the blast wave striking the posterior cranium in the region of the occipital crest and foramen magnum. Three weeks after blast-TBI, rats developed persistent, ongoing spontaneous pain. Contrary to our hypothesis, we found no significant differences in the activity of PO neurons, or of neurons in the spinal trigeminal nucleus. There were also no significant changes in gliosis in either of these structures. This novel model will allow future studies on the pathophysiology of chronic pain after blast-TBI.