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Papers of the Week

Papers: 4 Feb 2023 - 10 Feb 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Neurobiology

2023 Jan 31

Neurochem Int



Effects of prenatal hypoxia-ischemia on male rat periaqueductal gray matter: Hyperalgesia, astrogliosis and nitrergic system impairment.


de Almeida LS, Cunha-Rodrigues MC, Araujo PC, de Almeida OM, Barradas PC


Prenatal hypoxic-ischemic insult (HI) may lead to a variety of neurological consequences that may persist throughout adulthood. In the most severe cases, HI is known to increase pain sensitivity which profoundly impacts quality of life. Periaqueductal gray matter (PAG) is a relevant region of the descending pain pathway and its function may be modulated by a complex network that includes nitrergic neurons and glial response, among other factors. Astrocytes, central players in pain modulation, are known to respond to HI by inducing hyperplasia, hypertrophy and increasing the number of their processes and the staining of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). In this work we investigated the effects of prenatal HI on touch and pain sensitivity, besides the distribution of the neuronal isoform of Nitric Oxide Synthase (nNOS) and GFAP in the PAG of young and adult male rats. At 18 days of gestation, rats had their uterine arteries clamped for 45 min (HI group). SHAM-operated animals were also generated (SHAM group). At post-natal day 30 (P30) or 90 (P90), the offspring was submitted to the behavioral tests of Von Frey and formalin or histological processing to perform immunohistochemistry for nNOS and GFAP. Although there was no significant difference between the groups concerning touch sensitivity, we observed an increase in pain sensitivity in HI P30 and HI P90. The number of nNOS + cells was reduced in HI adult animals in dlPAG and vlPAG. GFAP immunostaining was increased in HI P90 in dlPAG and dmPAG. Our results demonstrated for the first time an increase in pain sensitivity as a consequence of prenatal HI in an animal model. It reinforces the relevance of this model to mimic the effects of prenatal HI, as hyperalgesia.