Temporal regularity determines the impact of electrical stimulation on tactile reactivity and response to capsaicin in spinally transected rats

K. M. Baumbauer, K. H. Lee, D. A. Puga, S. A. Woller, A. J. Hughes, J. W. Grau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Nociceptive plasticity and central sensitization within the spinal cord depend on neurobiological mechanisms implicated in learning and memory in higher neural systems, suggesting that the factors that impact brain-mediated learning and memory could modulate how stimulation affects spinal systems. One such factor is temporal regularity (predictability). The present paper shows that intermittent hindleg shock has opposing effects in spinally transected rats depending upon whether shock is presented in a regular or irregular (variable) manner. Variable intermittent legshock (900 shocks) enhanced mechanical reactivity to von Frey stimuli (hyperreactivity), whereas 900 fixed-spaced legshocks produced hyporeactivity. The impact of fixed-spaced shock depended upon the duration of exposure; a brief exposure (36 shocks) induced hyperreactivity whereas an extended exposure (900 shocks) produced hyporeactivity. The enhanced reactivity observed after variable shock was most evident 60-180. min after treatment. Fixed and variable intermittent stimulation applied to the sciatic nerve, or the tail, yielded a similar pattern of results. Stimulation had no effect on thermal reactivity. Exposure to fixed-spaced shock, but not variable shock, attenuated the enhanced mechanical reactivity (EMR) produced by treatment with hindpaw capsaicin. The effect of fixed-spaced stimulation lasted 24. h. Treatment with fixed-spaced shock also attenuated the maintenance of capsaicin-induced EMR. The results show that variable intermittent shock enhances mechanical reactivity, while an extended exposure to fixed-spaced shock has the opposite effect on mechanical reactivity and attenuates capsaicin-induced EMR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-133
Number of pages15
JournalNeuroscience
Volume227
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 27 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Capsaicin
  • Learning
  • Pain
  • Plasticity
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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