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Chronic restraint stress induces mechanical and cold allodynia, and enhances inflammatory pain in rat: Relevance to human stress-associated painful pathologies.

Bardin L, Malfetes N, Newman-Tancredi A, Depoortère R.
Behav Brain Res. 2009 Dec 28;205(2):360-6.

Whereas acute stress often results in analgesia, chronic stress can trigger hyperalgesia/allodynia. This influence of long-term stress on nociception is relevant to numerous painful pathologies, such as fibromyalgia (FM), characterized by diffuse muscular pain (hyperalgesia) and/or tenderness (allodynia). Hence, there is a need for pre-clinical models integrating a chronic-stress dimension to the study of pain. Here, we assessed the effects of protracted/intermittent stress produced by daily, 1h restraint periods in cylinders, 4 days/week over 5 weeks, on eight models of hyperalgesia and allodynia in rats. This type of stress potentiated chemical hyperalgesia in the formalin model (160 and 76% increase of pain score above controls, during the early and late phases, respectively). It also produced thermal allodynia in response to cold (paw acetone test: 200% increase of allodynia score during week 3-5) and heat (42 degrees C tail immersion test: 15% decrease of withdrawal threshold, from week 2 onward). This stress also resulted in mechanical allodynia in the von Frey filaments model (60% decrease in threshold during week 2-5). However, such a stress regimen had no influence in the Randall-Selitto test of mechanical hyperalgesia, and in the tail immersion models of cold (4 degrees C) or hot (48 degrees C) thermal hyperalgesia, as well as cold (15 degrees C) allodynia. This model of prolonged/intermittent restraint stress may be useful in investigating the mechanisms linking stress and pain, and provide an assay to assess the potential therapeutic efficacy of drugs targeted against painful pathologies with a strong stress component, including but not restricted to FM.