Christine B Sieberg, Caitlin Taras, Aya Gomaa, Chelsea Nickerson, Cindy Wong, Catherine Ward, Georgios Baskozos, David L H Bennett, Juan D Ramirez, Andreas C Themistocleous, Andrew S C Rice, Pallai R Shillo, Solomon Tesfaye, Robert R Edwards, Nick A Andrews, Charles Berde, Michael Costigan,
<h4>Background</h4>Epidemiological studies in patients with neuropathic pain demonstrate a strong association with psychiatric conditions such as anxiety; however, the precipitating pathology between these symptoms remains unclear. To investigate this, we studied the effects of lifelong stress on levels of neuropathic pain-like behavior and conversely, the effects of chronic neuropathic injury on anxiety-like status in male and female mice. In addition, we assayed this link in painful and painless diabetic peripheral neuropathy patients.<h4>Methods</h4>Male and female mice were subject to ongoing life-stress or control living conditions. Baseline sensitivity and anxiety tests were measured followed by spared nerve injury (SNI) to the sciatic nerve. Subsequent sensory testing occurred until 3 weeks after SNI followed by anxiety tests between 4 and 6 weeks after SNI.<h4>Results</h4>Levels of tactile or cold allodynia did not differ between adult mice subject to lifelong chronic stress, relative to nonstressed controls, for at least 3 weeks after SNI. By contrast, longer-term neuropathic mice of both sexes displayed pronounced anxiety-like behavior, regardless of exposure to stress. If sex differences were present, females usually exhibited more pronounced anxiety-like behavior. These ongoing anxiety behaviors were corroborated with plasma corticosterone levels in distinct animal groups. In addition, data from patients with painful and nonpainful diabetic neuropathy showed a clear relationship between ongoing pain and anxiety, with females generally more affected than males.<h4>Discussion</h4>Taken together, these data demonstrate a strong link between chronic neuropathic pain and chronic anxiety, with the driver of this comorbidity being neuropathic pain as opposed to on-going stress.
Pain Rep (Pain reports)
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