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Pain. 2002 Nov;100(1-2):155-62.

Progressive tactile hypersensitivity after a peripheral nerve crush: non-noxious mechanical stimulus-induced neuropathic pain.

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Anesthesiology Pain Research Group, Department of Anesthesiology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Neuropathic pain syndromes are characterized by spontaneous pain and by stimulus-evoked allodynia and hyperalgesia. Stimulus-induced pain, i.e. the capacity of external stimuli to alter sensory processing so as to generate a pain hypersensitivity that outlasts the initiating stimulus, is usually present only after intense activation of nociceptors. In abnormal pain states, however, such as after capsaicin injection or inflammation, a stimulus-induced incremental pain can be generated by repetitive light touch, termed progressive tactile hypersensitivity (PTH). In the present study, we have examined whether PTH also occurs in two experimental models of neuropathic pain: a crush injury of the sciatic nerve and the spared nerve injury (SNI) model. When applied during the first weeks after injury to the territory of the injured crushed nerve, repeated low-intensity mechanical stimulation did not change the mechanical withdrawal threshold response. However, 10 weeks and after, the same repeated stimulation induced a progressive tactile hypersensitivity that persisted after discontinuation of the tactile stimulation. Following SNI, repeated stimulation of the hypersensitive skin territory, corresponding to the intact spared sural nerve, never induced PTH. Tactile stimulation of regenerating afferents but not spared non-injured afferents, can induce, therefore, PTH and such a stimulus-induced alteration in pain processing may contribute to clinical neuropathic pain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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