Behavioral and electrophysiological consequences of deafferentation following chronic constriction of the infraorbital nerve in adult rats

Archives of Oral Biology
E H Chudler, Leigh C Anderson


Deafferentation of the hind paw following sciatic nerve injury results in behavioral changes, such as autotomy, suggestive of persistent, spontaneous pain. The effects of deafferentation involving trigeminal nerves have, however, received less attention. Here, alterations in trigeminal ganglion neuronal activity and mechanically evoked and spontaneous behavior were studied in adult rats after a chronic constriction injury of the infraorbital nerve (ION). Compared to sham-operated rats, most rats with ION damage were unresponsive to mechanical stimulation of the mystacial vibrissae up to 56 days after surgery. Increased facial grooming was observed only in rats with chronic ION constriction 10 days after surgery. Free-ranging behavior was similar to that of sham-injury animals. In contrast, increases in the number of spontaneously active trigeminal ganglion neurones were observed in those rats with ION injuries at both 3 and 56 days. These data suggest that chronic constrictive injuries of the ION resulting in prolonged loss of low-threshold input from the periphery lead to only transient behavioral changes, despite the presence of spontaneous activity in trigeminal sensory neurones.


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