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Anesthesiology and Pain Management - Immunology - Neuroscience - Physiology


Adult-Age Inflammatory Pain Experience Enhances Long-Term Pain Vigilance in Rats
Published: Friday, May 04, 2012
Author: Sheng-Guang Li et al.

by Sheng-Guang Li, Jin-Yan Wang, Fei Luo

Background

Previous animal studies have illustrated a modulatory effect of neonatal pain experience on subsequent pain-related behaviors. However, the relationship between chronic pain status in adulthood and future pain perception remains unclear.

Methodology/Principal Findings

In the current study, we investigated the effects of inflammatory pain experience on subsequent formalin-evoked pain behaviors and fear conditioning induced by noxious stimulation in adult rats. Our results demonstrated an increase of the second but not the first phase of formalin-induced pain behaviors in animals with a history of inflammatory pain that have recovered. Similarly, rats with persistent pain experience displayed facilitated acquisition and prolonged retention of pain-related conditioning. These effects of prior pain experience on subsequent behavior were prevented by repeated morphine administration at an early stage of inflammatory pain.

Conclusions/Significance

These results suggest that chronic pain diseases, if not properly and promptly treated, may have a long-lasting impact on processing and perception of environmental threats. This may increase the susceptibility of patients to subsequent pain-related disorders, even when chronic pain develops in adulthood. These data highlight the importance of treatment of chronic pain at an early stage.

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