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Brain Res. 1996 Apr 22;717(1-2):62-8.

Changes in nociceptive reflex facilitation during carrageenan-induced arthritis.

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Departamento de Fisiología y Farmacología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain.


Facilitation of neuronal responses induced by repetitive electrical stimulation of C-fibres (wind-up) is thought to be a substrate of hyperalgesia. There is little information on how these responses are in turn modified during hyperalgesia, and the extent to which hyperalgesic states also induce a facilitation of the neuronal responses mediated by A-fibres. The current study was undertaken in order to evaluate the effects of peripheral inflammation and stimulus presentation on the facilitation of nociceptive reflexes. Flexor reflexes, recorded as single motor units, were evoked in rats by cycles of low and high frequency electrical stimulation with pulse durations of 0.2, 0.5 and 2 ms. Responses were studied in control and inflammatory conditions, using the carrageenan-induced mono-arthritis model. The results show that the facilitation of late (C-fibre mediated) responses was proportional to the pulse duration of stimulation, as well as to the stimulation frequency. Facilitation was always higher when animals were subjected to inflammation. In inflammatory conditions, facilitation of reflexes was observed not only for late (C-fibre mediated) but also for early (A-fibre mediated) reflex responses. However, the facilitation of these early responses was not proportional to the intensity of stimulation. Thus, in arthritic animals, late (C-fibre mediated) flexion reflexes elicited from the skin, are facilitated and early (A-fibre mediated) reflexes are not only facilitated but, in addition, show a novel wind-up phenomenon.

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