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Sexual dimorphism in cognitive disorders in a murine model of neuropathic pain

  • Won, Soonmi1
  • Park, Keebum1, 2
  • Lim, Hyoungsub1
  • Lee, Sung Joong1, 2
  • 1 Seoul National University School of Dentistry, Seoul, Republic of Korea , Seoul (South Korea)
  • 2 Seoul National University, Seoul, 08826, Republic of Korea , Seoul (South Korea)
Published Article
Behavioral and Brain Functions
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Jan 04, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12993-019-0164-0
Springer Nature


BackgroundA sex-difference in susceptibility to chronic pain is well-known. Although recent studies have begun to reveal the sex-dependent mechanisms of nerve injury-induced pain sensitization, sex differences in the affective and cognitive brain dysfunctions associated with chronic pain have not been investigated. Therefore, we tested whether chronic pain leads to affective and cognitive disorders in a mouse neuropathic pain model and whether those disorders are sexually dimorphic.MethodsChronic neuropathic pain was induced in male and female mice by L5 spinal nerve transection (SNT) injury. Pain sensitivity was measured with the von Frey test. Affective behaviors such as depression and anxiety were assessed by the forced swim, tail suspension, and open field tests. Cognitive brain function was assessed with the Morris water maze and the novel object location and novel object recognition tests.ResultsMechanical allodynia was induced and maintained for up to 8 weeks after SNT in both male and female mice. Depressive- and anxiety-like behaviors were observed 8 weeks post-SNT injury regardless of sex. Chronic pain-induced cognitive deficits measured with the Morris water maze and novel object location test were seen only in male mice, not in female mice.ConclusionsChronic neuropathic pain is accompanied by anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors in a mouse model regardless of sex, and male mice are more vulnerable than female mice to chronic pain-associated cognitive deficits.

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