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Characterization of rat forepaw function in two models of cervical dorsal root injury.

Authors
  • Wu, Ann
  • Lauschke, Jenny L
  • Morris, Renée
  • Waite, Phil M E
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Neurotrauma
Publisher
Mary Ann Liebert
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2009
Volume
26
Issue
1
Pages
17–29
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1089/neu.2008.0675
PMID: 19196179
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Dorsal root injury (DRI) disrupts afferent input from the periphery and often leads to sensory deficits and neuropathic pain. Despite cervical root injuries in rodents being a useful model for deafferentation studies, a quantitative characterization of the sensory deficits produced by DRI is still lacking. This study aimed to characterize the different functional deficits resulting from a dorsal two- or four-root (C7-C8 and C5-C8, respectively) crush injury in rats at levels that innervate the forepaws. The impairment of the affected forepaw was assessed by mechanical and thermal pain responses, and rating the performance on the skilled reaching and ladder rung walking tests (LRWT). Postoperatively, only the two-root DRI rats developed mechanical allodynia, which persisted throughout the course of the study. Thermal hyperalgesia peaked at weeks 1 and 6. The four-root DRI animals were less sensitive to mechanical and thermal stimulation. Performance on the skilled reaching task could only be measured in two-root DRI rats, as animals with four-root injury were unable to grasp the pellets at all. On the LRWT, gait impairment was proportional to the severity of the lesion, with four-root DRI animals showing a significantly higher rate of errors than two-root DRI animals. These results suggest that two-root DRI represents a good model to assess treatments for allodynia-induced neuropathic pain, and for the restoration of the sensory component of the skilled motor performance. On the other hand, the four-root DRI would be a useful model when forepaw deafferentation is required.

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