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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Nov 2020 - 4 Dec 2020


Animal Studies

2020 Dec 01

Sci Rep



The influence of rat strain on the development of neuropathic pain and comorbid anxio-depressive behaviour after nerve injury.


Hestehave S, Abelson KSP, Brønnum Pedersen T, Finn DP, Andersson DR, Munro G
Sci Rep. 2020 Dec 01; 10(1):20981.
PMID: 33262364.


Back-translating the clinical manifestations of human disease burden into animal models is increasingly recognized as an important facet of preclinical drug discovery. We hypothesized that inbred rat strains possessing stress hyper-reactive-, depressive- or anxiety-like phenotypes may possess more translational value than common outbred strains for modeling neuropathic pain. Rats (inbred: LEW, WKY, F344/ICO and F344/DU, outbred: Crl:SD) were exposed to Spared Nerve Injury (SNI) and evaluated routinely for 6 months on behaviours related to pain (von Frey stimulation and CatWalk-gait analysis), anxiety (elevated plus maze, EPM) and depression (sucrose preference test, SPT). Markers of stress reactivity together with spinal/brain opioid receptor expression were also measured. All strains variously developed mechanical allodynia after SNI with the exception of stress-hyporesponsive LEW rats, despite all strains displaying similar functional gait-deficits after injury. However, affective changes reflective of anxiety- and depressive-like behaviour were only observed for F344/DU in the EPM, and for Crl:SD in SPT. Although differences in stress reactivity and opioid receptor expression occurred, overall they were relatively unaffected by SNI. Thus, anxio-depressive behaviours did not develop in all strains after nerve injury, and correlated only modestly with degree of pain sensitivity or with genetic predisposition to stress and/or affective disturbances.