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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Dec 2022 - 30 Dec 2022

2022 Nov 23

Neurobiol Aging

Age and sex drive differential behavioral and neuroimmune phenotypes during postoperative pain.


Dos Santos NL, Lenert ME, Castillo ZW, Mody PH, Thompson LT, Burton MD
Neurobiol Aging. 2022 Nov 23.
PMID: 36577640.


Surgical procedures in the geriatric population are steadily increasing, driven by improved healthcare technologies and longer lifespans. However, effective postoperative pain treatments are lacking, and this diminishes quality of life and recovery. Here we present one of the first preclinical studies to pursue sex- and age-specific differences in postoperative neuroimmune phenotypes and pain. We found that aged males, but not females, had a delayed onset of mechanical hypersensitivity post-surgery and faster resolution than young counterparts. This sex-specific age effect was accompanied by decreased paw innervation and increased local inflammation. Additionally, we find evidence of an age-dependent decrease in hyperalgesic priming and perioperative changes in nociceptor populations and spinal microglia in the aged. These findings suggest that impaired neuronal function and maladaptive inflammatory mechanisms influence postoperative pain development in advanced age. Elucidation of these neuroimmune phenotypes across age and sex enables the development of novel therapies that can be tailored for improved pain relief.