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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 Jul 2019 - 19 Jul 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Sep 01



Trigeminal Pain Responses in Obese ob/ob Mice Are Modality-Specific.


Rossi HL, Raj NR, Marquez de Prado B, Kuburas A, Luu AKS, Barr GA, Recober A
Neuroscience. 2019 Sep 01; 415:121-134.
PMID: 31295530.


How obesity exacerbates migraine and other pain disorders remains unknown. Trigeminal nociceptive processing, crucial in migraine pathophysiology, is abnormal in mice with diet induced obesity. However, it is not known if this is also true in genetic models of obesity. We hypothesized that obese mice, regardless of the model, have trigeminal hyperalgesia. To test this, we first evaluated trigeminal thermal nociception in leptin deficient (ob/ob) and control mice using an operant thermal assay. Unexpectedly, we found significant hypoalgesia in ob/ob mice. Because thermal hypoalgesia also occurs in mice lacking the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 channel (TRPV1), we tested capsaicin-evoked trigeminal nociception. Ob/ob and control mice had similar capsaicin-evoked nocifensive behaviors, but ob/ob mice were significantly less active after a facial injection of capsaicin than were diet-induced obese mice or lean controls. Conditioned place aversion in response to trigeminal stimulation with capsaicin was similar in both genotypes, indicating normal negative affect and pain avoidance. Supporting this, we found no difference in TRPV1 expression in the trigeminal ganglia of ob/ob and control mice. Finally, we assessed the possible contribution of hyperphagia, a hallmark of leptin deficiency, to the behavior observed in the operant assay. Ob/ob and lean control mice had similar reduction of intake when quinine or capsaicin was added to the sweetened milk, excluding a significant contribution of hyperphagia. In summary, ob/ob mice, unlike mice with diet-induced obesity, have trigeminal thermal hypoalgesia but normal responses to capsaicin, suggesting specificity in the mechanisms by which leptin acts in pain processing.