Evoked temporal summation in cats to highlight central sensitization related to osteoarthritis-associated chronic pain: a preliminary study

Martin Guillot, Polly M Taylor, Pascale Rialland, Mary P Klinck, M Maxim Moreau, Johanne Martel-Pelletier, Jean-Pierre Pelletier, Eric Troncy
PloS One 2014, 9 (5): e97347
In cats, osteoarthritis causes significant chronic pain. Chronicity of pain is associated with changes in the central nervous system related to central sensitization, which have to be quantified. Our objectives were 1) to develop a quantitative sensory testing device in cats for applying repetitive mechanical stimuli that would evoke temporal summation; 2) to determine the sensitivity of this test to osteoarthritis-associated pain, and 3) to examine the possible correlation between the quantitative sensory testing and assessment using other pain evaluation methods. We hypothesized that mechanical sub-threshold repetitive stimuli would evoke temporal summation, and that cats with osteoarthritis would show a faster response. A blinded longitudinal study was performed in 4 non-osteoarthritis cats and 10 cats with naturally occurring osteoarthritis. Quantification of chronic osteoarthritis pain-related disability was performed over a two week period using peak vertical force kinetic measurement, motor activity intensity assessment and von Frey anesthesiometer-induced paw withdrawal threshold testing. The cats afflicted with osteoarthritis demonstrated characteristic findings consistent with osteoarthritis-associated chronic pain. After a 14-day acclimation period, repetitive mechanical sub-threshold stimuli were applied using a purpose-developed device. Four stimulation profiles of predetermined intensity, duration and time interval were applied randomly four times during a four-day period. The stimulation profiles were different (P<0.001): the higher the intensity of the stimulus, the sooner it produced a consistent painful response. The cats afflicted with osteoarthritis responded more rapidly than cats osteoarthritis free (P = 0.019). There was a positive correlation between the von Frey anesthesiometer-induced paw withdrawal threshold and the response to stimulation profiles #2 (2N/0.4 Hz) and #4 (2N/0.4 Hz): Rhos = 0.64 (P = 0.01) and 0.63 (P = 0.02) respectively. This study is the first report of mechanical temporal summation in awake cats. Our results suggest that central sensitization develops in cats with naturally occurring osteoarthritis, providing an opportunity to improve translational research in osteoarthritis-associated chronic pain.

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