Responses of primary afferents and spinal dorsal horn neurons to thermal and mechanical stimuli before and during zymosan-induced inflammation of the rat hindpaw

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Intraplantar administration of zymosan produces inflammation and results in behavioral evidence of hyperalgesia to mechanical and thermal stimuli in the rat. In the present studies, responses of primary afferents and spinal dorsal horn neurons to mechanical and thermal stimuli were examined before and during zymosan-induced inflammation of the hindpaw. In tests of responses of primary afferents to mechanical stimuli, group mean mechanical response thresholds of C-mechanonociceptor (CMN) units significantly decreased after zymosan administration. The group mean mechanical response thresholds of low threshold mechanoreceptor (LTM) units, A-mechanoheat (AMH) units, high threshold mechanoreceptor (HTM) units, and C-mechanoheat (CMH) units showed either no change or were increased significantly by intraplantar administration of zymosan. The group mean total discharges evoked during the 10 s mechanical stimulus were significantly increased after zymosan administration in CMN units. The group mean total discharges were either significantly decreased or unchanged in LTM, AMH, HTM, and CMH units. In tests of responses of spinal dorsal hum neurons to mechanical stimuli, the group mean mechanical response threshold of nociceptive specific (NS) units decreased significantly 1 h following administration of zymosan, whereas no significant changes occurred in the mechanical response thresholds of wide dynamic range (WDR) neurons in zymosan-injected rats, WDR neurons in saline- injected rats, or NS neurons in saline-injected rats. The group mean total discharges of only NS neurons were significantly increased during the 10 s mechanical stimulus 3 and 4 h after zymosan administration. In tests of responses of primary afferents to thermal stimuli, intraplantar administration of zymosan resulted in significant decreases in group mean response thresholds of CMH units and significant increases in group mean response thresholds of AMH units. The group mean total discharges of CMH units was either unchanged or significantly increased during thermal stimuli depending on both the time of testing and the temperature of the test stimulus. The group mean total number of discharges of AMH units was significantly decreased during tests of all thermal stimuli. In tests of responses of spinal dorsal horn neurons to thermal stimuli, intraplantar administration of zymosan resulted in significant decreases in thermal response thresholds of both WDR and NS units of zymosan-injected rats, but no changes in WDR and NS units of saline-injected rats. The group mean total discharges evoked by the 15 s thermal stimuli also increased significantly in both WDR and NS units after zymosan administration. Zymosan administration resulted in increased background activity only in CMH units. These increases occurred immediately following the injection and dissipated by the first hourly test period. Significant changes in background discharges of both WDR and NS units occurred at some hourly test intervals following administration of zymosan, but these changes were not consistent with respect to either unit type or modality of the test stimulus. These data suggest that the zymosan- induced hyperalgesia to mechanical stimuli observed in behavioral studies reflects decreases in response thresholds of peripheral CMN units and spinal NS neurons. Hyperalgesia to thermal stimuli reflects decreases in response thresholds of peripheral CMH units, spinal WDR neurons, and spinal NS neurons. These data support the view that different physiological substrates mediate hyperalgesia to either thermal or mechanical stimuli following intraplantar administration of zymosan.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Brain Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Randich A; Meller ST; Gebhart GF
  • Start Page

  • 135
  • End Page

  • 148
  • Volume

  • 772
  • Issue

  • 1-2