RESEARCH ARTICLE


Pain Behavior Changes Following Disc Puncture Relate to Nucleus Pulposus Rather than to the Disc Injury Per Se: An Experimental Study in Rats



Elin Nilsson1, Toshio Nakamae2, 3, Kjell Olmarker*, 3
1 Department of Orthopaedics, Inst Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Hiroshima University, Japan
3 Musculoskeletal research, Department of Medical Chemistry and Cell Biology, Institute of Biomedicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden


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© Nilsson et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Medical Chemistry and Cell Biology, Institute of Biomedicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, SE - 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden; Tel: +46-31-7863597; E-mail: kjell.olmarker@gu.se


Abstract

It has previously been demonstrated that disc puncture in the rat induced changes in grooming and wet dog shakes, two behavioral changes that may be linked to discomfort and neuropathic pain. In this study the aim was to separate the effects of disc injury and the epidural presence of nucleus pulposus. Following anesthesia, the L4-5 disc was exposed using a dorsal approach. Ten rats received a superficial disc injury without nucleus pulposus leakage and ten rats received nucleus pulposus from a donor rat without disc injury. In ten animals the L4-5 disc was punctured using a ventral approach, with 10 corresponding controls. Spontaneous behavior was assessed after surgery. The data was matched to historical control of dorsal sham surgery and disc puncture. The study showed that the effects of nucleus pulposus were more pronounced than the effects induced by the disc injury. Ventral disc puncture did not induce any behavioral changes different from sham exposure. In conclusion, the data from the study indicate that behavioral changes induced by disc puncture are more likely to relate to the epidural presence of nucleus pulposus than the disc injury per se.

Keywords: Low back pain, disc, nucleus pulposus, rat, pain behavior.