I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Feb 2024 - 1 Mar 2024

2024 Feb 27



Aged females unilaterally hypersensitize, lack descending inhibition, and overexpress alpha1D adrenergic receptors in a murine posttraumatic chronic pain model.


Hirsch SJ, Budig A, Husam S, Birklein F


Vulnerability to chronic pain is found to depend on age and sex. Most patients with chronic pain are elderly women, especially with posttraumatic pain after bone fracture that prevails beyond the usual recovery period and develops into a complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). There, a distal bone fracture seems to initiate a pathophysiological process with unknown mechanism. To investigate whether sex, age, and alpha adrenergic receptors also contribute to a CRPS-like phenotype in animals, we performed experiments on tibia-fractured mice. Those mice commonly are resilient to the development of a CRPS-like phenotype. However, we found them to be vulnerable to long-lasting pain after distal bone fracture when they were of old age. These mice expressed mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity, as well as weight-bearing and autonomic impairment following bone trauma, which persisted over 3 months. Site-specific and body side-specific glycinergic and α1D-noradrenergic receptor expression in the spinal cord and the contralateral locus coeruleus were misbalanced. Aged female tibia-fractured mice lost descending noradrenergic inhibition and displayed enhanced spinal activity on peripheral pressure stimuli. Together, changes in the noradrenergic, hence, glycinergic system towards excitation in the pain pathway-ascending and descending-might contribute to the development or maintenance of long-lasting pain. Conclusively, changes in the noradrenergic system particularly occur in aged female mice after trauma and might contribute to the development of long-lasting pain. Our data support the hypothesis that some patients with chronic pain would benefit from lowering the adrenergic/sympathetic tone or antagonizing α1(D).