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Behav Neurosci. 2008 Jun;122(3):589-600. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.122.3.589.

The neonatal injury-induced spinal learning deficit in adult rats: central mechanisms.

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Department of Psychology, Kent State University, USA.


Previous research has shown that small injuries early in development can alter adult pain reactivity and processing of stimuli presented to the side of injury. However, the mechanisms involved and extent of altered adult spinal function following neonatal injury remain unclear. The present experiments were designed to 1) determine whether the effects of neonatal injury affect processing contralateral to the injury and 2) evaluate the role of cells expressing the NK1 receptor, shown to be involved in central sensitization in adults, in the negative effects of neonatal injury. The present findings indicate that the effects of neonatal injury are primarily isolated to the injured hind limb and do not result in a bilateral alteration in adult spinal function. In addition, the effects of neonatal injury appear to be partially dependent on cells expressing the NK1 receptor as ablating these cells at the time of injury or in adulthood results in attenuation of the neonatal injury-induced spinal learning deficit.

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