Deep Tissue Incision Enhances Spinal Dorsal Horn Neuron Activity During Static Isometric Muscle Contraction in Rats.


Department of Anesthesia. Electronic address: [Email]


Translational correlates to pain with activities after deep tissue injury have been rarely studied. We hypothesized that deep tissue incision causes greater activation of nociception-transmitting neurons evoked by muscle contraction. In vivo neuronal activity was recorded in 203 dorsal horn neurons (DHNs) from 97 rats after sham, skin-only, or skin + deep muscle incision. We evaluated DHN responses to static, isometric muscle contractions induced by direct electrical stimulation of the muscle. The effect of pancuronium on DHN response to contractions was also examined. Approximately 50% of DHNs with receptive fields in the hindpaw were excited during muscle contraction. One-second .5- and 1.0-g muscle contractions produced greater DHN activity after skin + deep muscle incision (median [interquartile range], 32 [5-39] impulses, P = .021; and 36 [26-46] impulses, P = .006, respectively) than after sham (6 [0-21] and 15 [8-32] impulses, respectively). Neuromuscular blockade with pancuronium inhibited the muscle contractions and DHN activation during electrical stimulation, demonstrating contraction-induced activation. The greater response of spinal DHNs to static muscle contraction after skin + deep muscle incision may model and inform mechanisms of dynamic pain after surgery. PERSPECTIVE: Completion of various activities is an important milestone for recovery and hospital discharge after surgery. Skin + deep muscle incision caused greater activation of nociception-transmitting DHNs evoked by muscle contraction compared with skin-only incision. This result suggests an important contribution of deep muscle injury to activity-evoked hyperalgesia after surgery.


Deep tissue incision,in vivo extracellular recordings,postoperative pain,spinal dorsal horn neuron activity,static isometric muscle contraction,

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