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Papers: 17 Aug 2019 - 23 Aug 2019


Animal Studies

2019 Dec 16

Behav Brain Res


Stress sensitivity and cutaneous sensory thresholds before and after neuropathic injury in various inbred and outbred rat strains.


Hestehave S, Abelson KSP, Brønnum Pedersen T, Munro G
Behav Brain Res. 2019 Dec 16; 375:112149.
PMID: 31419521.


Chronic pain is associated with altered affective state, stress, anxiety and depression. Conversely, stress, anxiety and depression can all modulate pain perception. The relative link between these behavioural constructs in different inbred and outbred rat strains, known to be variously hypo/hyperresponsive to stress has not been determined. Hindpaw sensory thresholds to repeated mechanical (von Frey filament and electronic Randall Selitto) and thermal (Hargreaves, cold plate and hot plate) stimulation were routinely assessed over three weeks in non-injured male rats of the following strains; WKY, LEW, F344, Hsd:SD and Crl:SD. Thereafter, threshold responses to spared nerve injury (SNI) were assessed using von Frey, pin prick and Hargreaves testing in the same strains over a three month period. Finally, anxiolytic efficacy of the benzodiazepine drug diazepam was assessed using the Elevated Plus Maze (EPM), as a surrogate index of functional plasticity of circuits involved in affective processing. Repeated nociceptive testing was associated with distinct strain-dependent changes in sensory thresholds in naïve rats; stress-hyporesponsive LEW rats presented with a mechanical/thermal hyperalgesia phenotype, whereas stress-hyperresponsive WKY rats presented with an unexpected heat/cold hypoalgesia phenotype. After SNI, LEW rats showed minimal signs of neuropathic sensitivity. Diazepam was anxiolytic in all tested strains with the exception of LEW rats reflecting distinct inherent affective processing only in this strain. The contribution of stress reactivity to nociceptive sensory profiles appears to vary in the absence or presence of neuropathic injury. Intriguingly, the functional responsiveness of affective state prior to injury may be a predisposing factor to developing chronic pain.