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Pain. 1997 Aug;72(1-2):269-75.

A model of transient hyperalgesia in the behaving monkey induced by topical application of capsaicin.

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Centre de Recherche en Sciences Neurologiques and Faculté de Médecinedentaire, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada.


The aim of this study was to develop a model of transient hyperalgesia in the awake monkey performing operant tasks. An adult male rhesus monkey was trained to press a lever to receive food reward for detecting a light or to escape mechanical or thermal stimuli applied in the maxillary region of the face. A small contact thermode was positioned on one side of the face and a mechanical stimulator was placed on the other side. Noxious and innocuous thermal (43, 47 and 51 degrees C) or mechanical (245, 490, 736 and 1472 mN) stimuli of 4.5-s duration were presented in a pseudo-random order. The animal was tested before, 1 h and 24 h after topical capsaicin application (0.3 ml; 0.004 M). At the site of capsaicin application, the monkey escaped more thermal and mechanical stimuli 1 h after than before capsaicin, suggestive of thermal and mechanical hyperalgesia. At 24 h post-capsaicin, mechanical escape behavior had returned to baseline, but thermal escapes were still slightly elevated. Capsaicin had no significant effect on either mechanical or thermal escape behavior for stimuli presented to the contralateral site. Seven human subjects tested with these procedures reported higher pain intensity for similar stimuli after capsaicin application, in accordance with the monkey escape behavior. It is concluded that topical application of capsaicin on the maxillary face of the awake behaving monkey produces a transient thermal and mechanical hyperalgesia. The procedure is repeatable and produces no overt signs of distress. Thus it could provide an important tool for studying neural mechanisms of hyperalgesia and for testing analgesic treatments in primates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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