Reduced sleep, stress responsivity, and female sex contribute to persistent inflammation-induced mechanical hypersensitivity in rats

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9 Scopus citations


Studies in humans suggest that female sex, reduced sleep opportunities and biological stress responsivity increase risk for developing persistent pain conditions. To investigate the relative contribution of these three factors to persistent pain, we employed the Sciatic Inflammatory Neuritis (SIN) model of repeated left sciatic perineurial exposures to zymosan, an inflammatory stimulus, to determine their impact upon the development of persistent mechanical hypersensitivity. Following an initial moderate insult, a very low zymosan dose was infused daily for eight days to model a sub-threshold inflammatory perturbation to which only susceptible animals would manifest or maintain mechanical hypersensitivity. Using Sprague Dawley rats, maintaining wakefulness throughout the first one-half of the 12-h light phase resulted in a bilateral reduction in paw withdrawal thresholds (PWTs); zymosan infusion reduced ipsilateral PWTs in all animals and contralateral PWTs only in females. This sex difference was validated in Fischer 344, Lewis and Sprague Dawley rats, suggesting that females are the more susceptible phenotype for both local and centrally driven responses to repeated low-level inflammatory perturbations. Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis hyporesponsive Lewis rats exhibited the most robust development of mechanical hypersensitivity and HPA axis hyperresponsive Fischer 344 rats matched the Lewis rats' mechanical hypersensitivity throughout the latter four days of the protocol. If HPA axis phenotype does indeed influence these findings, the more balanced responsivity of Sprague Dawley rats would seem to promote resilience in this paradigm. Taken together, these findings are consistent with what is known regarding persistent pain development in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-251
Number of pages8
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Fischer 344
  • HPA axis
  • Lewis
  • Persistent pain
  • Zymosan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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