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Journal of Orthopaedic Science

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 1005–1011

First Online: 21 August 2013Received: 25 October 2012Accepted: 16 July 2013


BackgroundLong-lasting limb pain or back pain after surgery occasionally develops into chronic pain that leads to lower activity and a poorer quality of life for many patients. To determine the histopathological and neuropathological mechanisms that cause persistent post-operative pain, we developed an original animal model with sustained painful scars and then examined pain-related behavior and the pathological alteration of peripheral tissues and spinal nerves associated with the model.

MethodsThe animal model Scar group was prepared in rats by extensively stripping subcutaneous tissue from the plantar in the hind paw followed by subsequent examination of pain-related behavior over the next 12 weeks. Thereafter, we conducted histological staining of the scar tissues, immunohistochemical staining of c-Fos L5 dorsal horn, and electron microscopic analysis of the L5 spinal nerve fibers-dorsal roots.

ResultsThe mechanical pain threshold decreased specifically in the ipsilateral plantar in animals with scar. This state was maintained for 12 weeks. A collagen layer developed from fibers derma to the muscular layer in the scar tissue in which many fibroblasts were observed. No statistical differences were found for the areas of the c-Fos-immunoreactive c-Fos-IR neurons in the ipsilateral and contralateral sides of the L5 level of the dorsal horn in both the Scar group and Pinhole sham operation group. However, myelin sheath fragmentation of the nerve fibers was observed in the ipsilateral dorsal root at the L5 position.

ConclusionsWe created a persistent painful scar model through extensive injury of the peripheral tissues. Fibrotic thickening of the cutaneous tissues, possible sensitization, and partial degradation of the spinal nerve related to the painful scar were observed. This model should enable us to better understand the mechanism of sensitization caused by painful scar and investigate new methods for treating painful scars in humans.

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Autor: Yukihiro Kajita - Katsutoshi Suetomi - Teruhiko Okada - Masahiko Ikeuchi - Young-Chang P. Arai - Keiji Sato - Takahiro Ush


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