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Papers of the Week

Papers: 26 Mar 2022 - 1 Apr 2022


2022 Mar 29


Dorsal horn volume loss and pain pathway changes in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with syringomyelia, signs of pain, and phantom scratching.


Mortensen D, Thoefner M S, Agerholm J S, Slumstrup L, Jensen T S, Bjerrum O J, Berendt M, Nyengaard J R
Pain. 2022 Mar 29.
PMID: 35353770.


Central neuropathic pain is a core clinical sign of syringomyelia in humans and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS) dogs. This histopathological study used spinal cords from CKCS with syringomyelia to investigate: 1) whether specific structural cervical spinal cord entities involved in nociception are affected by loss of neuroparenchyma or other pathological changes in CKCS with pain-related behaviour and phantom scratching, 2) if pain related behaviour or phantom scratching correlated with loss of a specific anatomical entity or upregulation of glia cells, and 3) if syringomyelia-related lesions affected specific functional spinal cord units of nociception.Spinal cord segments C1-C8 from CKCS with MRI-confirmed syringomyelia and clinical signs of pain and phantom scratch (n=8) were compared to CKCS without syringomyelia (n=4). Dogs with unilateral scratching (n=7) had a volume loss (P=0.043) of the dorsal horn laminae I-III in the ipsilateral side compared to the contralateral dorsal horn. A clear pattern of ipsilateral changes in the dorsal root entry zone characterised by deafferentation and reorganization of first-order axons into deeper laminae was found in cases with lateralised scratching. Significant changes in cell number density were not found for astrocytes or microglia, suggesting that the dogs represented cases of end-stage syringomyelia and thus could not reveal astrogliosis and microgliosis, which may be involved in the early phases of syrinx development and phantom scratch.The present relationship between clinical findings and dorsal horn and pain pathway pathology in CKCS suggests that these dogs may be of interest as a supplement to experimental model pain research.