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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Nov 2020 - 4 Dec 2020


Animal Studies

2020 Nov 26

Brain Res Bull

Nociceptive, emotional, electrophysiological, and histological characterization of the chronic constriction injury model in female Wistar Han rats.


Fonseca-Rodrigues D, Laranjeira I, Barbosa J, Lamas N J, Amorim D, Almeida A, Pinto-Ribeiro F
Brain Res Bull. 2020 Nov 26.
PMID: 33249262.


Chronic neuropathic pain affects 7-10% of the population and is often accompanied by comorbid emotional disorders, which greatly reduce the quality of life of the patients, impairing physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning. Despite the higher prevalence and severity of chronic pain in women, the number of publications using female animals remains scarce. While in the chronic constriction injury (CCI) model the development of mechanical/thermal hyperalgesia, allodynia and spontaneous pain has been shown in both sexes, little is known on CCI-induced emotional impairments and sciatic nerve histopathology in female rats, as well as on the contributions of ovarian hormones to peripheral nerve injury. In this work, young adult rats (Wistar Han) were assigned to one of five groups: gonadally intact females (SHAM/SHAM), ovariectomized females (SHAM/OVX), gonadally intact females with CCI (CCI/SHAM); ovariectomized females with CCI (CCI/OVX) and males with CCI (CCI). In the postoperative period, CCI animals, both females and males, displayed visible gait abnormalities, limping and guarding the affected hind paw although locomotion was not affected. Neuropathic females developed sustained mechanical allodynia, with CCI/OVX animals displaying symptoms two weeks before CCI/SHAM females. Interestingly, regarding mechanical and cold allodynia, CCI males slowly recovered from week 3 onwards. While CCI induced neither anxiety- nor depressive-like behaviour in females, ovariectomy per se induced anhedonic-like behaviour, regardless of CCI surgery. Histopathological analysis of the sciatic nerve showed CCI induced nerve damage, fibrosis, myelin sheath degradation and inflammation. Single-cell electrophysiological data from the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) suggests this area is partly involved in descending facilitation associated with experimental neuropathic pain. Altogether, our findings demonstrate CCI females display distinct sensory, emotional, electrophysiological, and histopathological impairments from males, and that ovariectomy aggravates females' responses to peripheral nerve injury.