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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 May 2021 - 14 May 2021

Animal Studies

2021 Apr 20


The impact of foot shock-induced stress on pain-related behavior associated with burn injury.


Wu P Y, Menta B, Visk A, Ryals JM, Christianson JA, Wright DE, Chadwick AL
Burns. 2021 Apr 20.
PMID: 33958242.


Acute pain is prevalent following burn injury and can often transition to chronic pain. Prolonged acute pain is an important risk factor for chronic pain and there is little preclinical research to address this problem. Using a mouse model of second-degree burn, we investigated whether pre-existing stress influences pain(sensitivity) after a burn injury. We introduced a contribution of stress in two different ways: (1) the use of foot-shock as a pre-injury stressor or (2) the use of A/J mice to represent higher pre-existing stress compared to C57Bl/6 mice. C57Bl/6 and A/J mice were exposed to repeated mild foot shock to induce stress for 10 continuous days and mice underwent either burn injury or sham burn injury of the plantar surface of the right hind paw. Assessments of mechanical and thermal sensitivities of the injured and uninjured paw were conducted during the shock protocol and at intervals up to 82-day post-burn injury. In both strains of mice that underwent burn injury, thermal hypersensitivity and mechanical allodynia appeared rapidly in the ipsilateral paw. Mice that were stressed took much longer to recover their hind paw mechanical thresholds to baseline compared to non-stressed mice in both burn and non-burn groups. Analysis of the two mouse strains revealed that the recovery of mechanical thresholds in A/J mice which display higher levels of baseline anxiety was shorter than C57Bl/6 mice. No differences were observed regarding thermal sensitivities between strains. Our results support the view that stress exposure prior to burn injury affects mechanical and thermal thresholds and may be relevant to as a risk factor for the transition from acute to chronic pain. Finally, genetic differences may play a key role in modality-specific recovery following burn injury.