Early-life stress induces visceral hypersensitivity in mice.
ABSTRACT Early-life stress is a risk factor for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common and debilitating functional gastrointestinal disorder that is often co-morbid with stress-related psychiatric disorders. In the rat, maternal separation (MS) stress has been shown to induce visceral hypersensitivity in adulthood and thus has become a useful model of IBS. However, development of mouse models of maternal separation has been difficult. Given the advent of transgenic mouse technology, such models would be useful to further our understanding of the pathophysiology of IBS and to develop new pharmacological treatments. Thus, the present study aimed to develop a mouse model of MS stress-induced visceral hyperalgesia as measured using manometric recordings of colorectal distension (CRD). Moreover, since the GABA(B) receptor has been reported to play a role in pain processes, we also assessed its role in visceral nociception using novel GABA(B(1b)) receptor subunit knockout mice. CRD was performed in adult male wildtype and GABA(B(1b)) receptor knockout mice that had undergone unpredictable MS combined with unpredictable maternal stress (MSUS) from postnatal day 1 through 14 (PND 1-14). MSUS induced visceral hypersensitivity in both wildtype and GABA(B(1b)) receptor knockout mice when compared with non-stressed mice. Wildtype and GABA(B(1b)) receptor knockout mice did not differ in baseline or stress-induced visceral sensitivity. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show that early-life stress induces visceral hypersensitivity in a mouse model. These findings may provide a novel mouse model of visceral hypersensitivity which may aid our understanding of its underlying mechanisms in future studies.
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ABSTRACT: Early life stress can permanently alter functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which regulates the stress response and influences the perception of pain. Chronic pelvic pain patients commonly report having experienced childhood neglect or abuse, which increases the likelihood of presenting with comorbid chronic pain and/or mood disorders. Animal models of neonatal stress commonly display enhanced anxiety-like behaviors, colorectal hypersensitivity, and disruption of proper neuro-immune interactions in adulthood. Here, we tested the hypothesis that early life stress impacts vaginal sensitivity by exposing mice to neonatal maternal separation (NMS) for 3hr/day during the first two (NMS14) or three (NMS21) postnatal weeks. As adults, female mice underwent vaginal balloon distension (VBD), which was also considered an acute stress. Before or after VBD, mice were assessed for anxiety-like behavior, hindpaw sensitivity, and changes in gene and protein expression related to HPA axis function and regulation. NMS21 mice displayed significantly increased vaginal sensitivity compared to naïve mice, as well as significantly reduced anxiety-like behavior at baseline, which was heightened following VBD. NMS21 mice exhibited significant thermal and mechanical hindpaw hypersensitivity at baseline and following VBD. NMS14 mice displayed no change in anxiety-like behavior and only exhibited significantly increased hindpaw mechanical and thermal sensitivity following VBD. Centrally, a significant decrease in negative regulation of the HPA axis was observed in the hypothalamus and hippocampus of NMS21 mice. Peripherally, NMS and VBD affected the expression of inflammatory mediators in the vagina and bladder. Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) receptor and transient receptor potential (TRP) channel protein expression was also significantly, and differentially, affected in vagina, bladder, and colon by both NMS and VBD. Together these data indicate that NMS affects both central and peripheral aspects of the HPA axis, which may drive changes in vaginal sensitivity and the development of comorbid chronic pain and mood disorders.Neuroscience 01/2014; · 3.12 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There are many known risk factors for chronic pain conditions, yet the biological underpinnings that link these factors to abnormal processing of painful signals are only just beginning to be explored. This Review will discuss the potential mechanisms that have been proposed to underlie vulnerability and resilience toward developing chronic pain. Particular focus will be given to genetic and epigenetic processes, priming effects on a cellular level, and alterations in brain networks concerned with reward, motivation/learning and descending modulatory control. Although research in this area is still in its infancy, a better understanding of how pain vulnerability emerges has the potential to help identify individuals at risk and may open up new therapeutic avenues.Nature Neuroscience 02/2014; 17(2):192-200. · 15.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Early-life stress is associated with an increased risk of developing affective disorders and chronic pain conditions. This study examined the effect of maternal deprivation (MD) on nociceptive responding prior to and following peripheral nerve injury (L5-L6 spinal nerve ligation [SNL]). Because neuroimmune signaling plays an important role in pain and affective disorders, associated alterations in glial and cytokine expression were assessed in key brain regions associated with emotional and nociceptive responding, the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. MD female, but not male, rats exhibited thermal hypoalgesia and mechanical allodynia compared with control (non-MD) counterparts. SNL resulted in mechanical and cold allodynia in MD and control rats of both sexes. However, MD females exhibited enhanced SNL-induced allodynic responding compared with non-MD counterparts. Interleukin 6 (IL-6) expression was reduced in the prefrontal cortex of MD-SNL males when compared with non-SNL counterparts. Glial fibrillary acidic protein and IL-1β expression in the hippocampus of MD-SNL males was increased compared with non-MD controls. MD-SNL females exhibited reduced tumor necrosis factor alpha in the prefrontal cortex with a concomitant increase in IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha expression in the hippocampus, compared with either MD or SNL alone. In conclusion, MD female, but not male, rats exhibit enhanced nociceptive responding following peripheral nerve injury, effects that may relate to the distinct neuroinflammatory profile observed in female versus male rats. This study demonstrates that females rats exposed to early-life stress exhibit enhanced neuropathic pain responding, effects associated with alterations in neuroinflammatory mediators. Increased understanding of the interactions among early-life stress, gender, and pain may lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of chronic pain disorders.The journal of pain: official journal of the American Pain Society 07/2013; · 3.78 Impact Factor