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Pain in the Developing Brain: Early Life Factors Alter Nociception and Neurobiological Function in Adolescent Rats

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posted on 01.10.2021, 02:39 authored by Sabrina Salberg, Glenn R Yamakawa, Yannick Griep, Jesse Bain, Jaimie K Beveridge, Mujun Sun, Stuart McDonaldStuart McDonald, Sandy R Shultz, Rhys D Brady, David K Wright, Melanie Noel, Richelle Mychasiuk
Although adverse early experiences prime individuals to be at increased risk for chronic pain, little research has examined the trauma-pain relationship in early life or the underlying mechanisms that drive pathology over time. Given that early experiences can potentiate the nociceptive response, this study aimed to examine the effects of a high-fat, high-sugar (HFHS) diet and early life stress (maternal separation [MS]) on pain outcomes in male and female adolescent rats. Half of the rats also underwent a plantar-incision surgery to investigate how the pain system responded to a mildly painful stimuli in adolescence. Compared with controls, animals that were on the HFHS diet, experienced MS, or had exposure to both, exhibited increased anxiety-like behavior and altered thermal and mechanical nociception at baseline and following the surgery. Advanced magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated that the HFHS diet and MS altered the maturation of the brain, leading to changes in brain volume and diffusivity within the anterior cingulate, amygdala, corpus callosum, nucleus accumbens, and thalamus, while also modifying the integrity of the corticospinal tracts. The effects of MS and HFHS diet were often cumulative, producing exacerbated pain sensitivity and increased neurobiological change. As early experiences are modifiable, understanding their role in pain may provide targets for early intervention/prevention.

History

Publication Date

24/02/2021

Journal

Cerebral Cortex Communications

Volume

2

Issue

2

Article Number

tgab014

Pagination

15p.

Publisher

Oxford University Press

ISSN

2632-7376

Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

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