Chronic constriction injury of the rat's infraorbital nerve (IoN-CCI) to study trigeminal neuropathic pain
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Engineering sciences. Technology
Journal of visualized experiments. - -
, 6 p.
University of Antwerp
Animal models are important tools to study the pathophysiology and pharmacology of neuropathic pain. This manuscript describes the surgical and behavioral procedures to study trigeminal neuropathic pain in rats. To meet the specificity of trigeminal neuropathic pain syndromes, the infraorbital nerve (IoN) is subjected to a chronic constriction injury (CCI) by loosely ligating the nerve. An intra-orbital approach is presented here to expose and ligate the IoN in the orbital cavity. After IoN ligation, rats exhibit changes in spontaneous behavior and in response to von Frey hair stimulation that are indicative of persistent pain and mechanical allodynia. Two phases can be defined in the development of the behavioral changes. During the first week following IoN-CCI (phase 1), rats show an increased and asymmetric face grooming activity, i.e., with face wash strokes primarily directed to the nerve-injured IoN territory. A distinction is made between face grooming behavior that is part of a more general body grooming behavior, which remains largely unaffected by IoN-CCI, and face grooming that is neither preceded nor followed by body grooming, which is significantly increased after IoN-CCI. During this period, responsiveness to mechanical stimulation of the IoN territory is reduced. This hyporesponsiveness is abruptly replaced by an extreme hyperresponsiveness whereby even very weak stimulus intensities provoke nocifensive behavior (phase 2). The phenomenological similarities between these behavioral alterations and reported signs of facial pain (i.e., responses to noxious stimulation of the face) suggest the presence of dysesthesia/paresthesia and mechanical allodynia in the ligated IoN territory.