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Procedures which increase acute pain sensitivity also increase autotomy.

Abstract
Rats typically display self-mutilation (autotomy) of a paw that has been denervated by transection of the sciatic and saphenous nerves. The cause of autotomy, however, is not known. It may be due to hyperesthesia (comparable to that seen in humans after peripheral nerve injury) or anesthesia (as an attempt to shed an insensate appendage). The present study tested the assumption that if autotomy is produced by pain, then procedures that normally augment the expression of pain should enhance autotomy after transection of peripheral nerves. Groups of rats were subjected to procedures known to produce an increase in pain sensitivity: (i) prior heat injury of either the ipsilateral or contralateral paw; (ii) systemic injection of noradrenaline and the monoamine oxidase inhibitor, pargyline; and (iii) intrathecal administration of substance P. The results showed that each of these procedures produced an increase in the level of autotomy. These results strongly suggest that autotomy is due to a sensory phenomenon which, in terms of human experience, would be described as pain or dysesthesia.
AuthorsT J Coderre, R Melzack
JournalExperimental neurology (Exp Neurol) Vol. 92 Issue 3 Pg. 713-22 (Jun 1986) ISSN: 0014-4886 [Print] UNITED STATES
PMID2423360 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't)
Chemical References
  • Substance P
  • Pargyline
  • Norepinephrine
Topics
  • Animals
  • Burns (psychology)
  • Denervation
  • Foot Injuries
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine (pharmacology)
  • Pain (physiology)
  • Pargyline (pharmacology)
  • Peripheral Nerves (physiology)
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Self Mutilation (chemically induced)
  • Sensation (drug effects, physiology)
  • Substance P (pharmacology)

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