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Acute and chronic tactile sensory testing after spinal cord injury in rats.

Authors
  • Detloff, Megan Ryan
  • Fisher, Lesley C
  • Deibert, Rochelle J
  • Basso, D Michele
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Visualized Experiments
Publisher
MyJoVE Corporation
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2012
Issue
62
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3791/3247
PMID: 22508401
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Spinal cord injury (SCI) impairs sensory systems causing allodynia. To identify cellular and molecular causes of allodynia, sensitive and valid sensory testing in rat SCI models is needed. However, until recently, no single testing approach had been validated for SCI so that standardized methods have not been implemented across labs. Additionally, available testing methods could not be implemented acutely or when severe motor impairments existed, preventing studies of the development of SCI-induced allodynia(3). Here we present two validated sensory testing methods using von Frey Hair (VFH) monofilaments which quantify changes in tactile sensory thresholds after SCI. One test is the well-established Up-Down test which demonstrates high sensitivity and specificity across different SCI severities when tested chronically. The other test is a newly-developed dorsal VFH test that can be applied acutely after SCI when allodynia develops, prior to motor recovery. Each VFH monofilament applies a calibrated force when touched to the skin of the hind paw until it bends. In the up-down method, alternating VFHs of higher or lower forces are used on the plantar L5 dermatome to delineate flexor withdrawal thresholds. Successively higher forces are applied until withdrawal occurs then lower force VFHs are used until withdrawal ceases. The tactile threshold reflects the force required to elicit withdrawal in 50% of the stimuli. For the new test, each VFH is applied to the dorsal L5 dermatome of the paw while the rat is supported by the examiner. The VFH stimulation occurs in ascending order of force until at least 2 of 3 applications at a given force produces paw withdrawal. Tactile sensory threshold is the lowest force to elicit withdrawal 66% of the time. Acclimation, testing and scoring procedures are described. Aberrant trials that require a retest and typical trials are defined. Animal use was approved by Ohio State University Animal Care and Use Committee.

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