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Long-term effects of early pain and injury: animal models 

Long-term effects of early pain and injury: animal models
Long-term effects of early pain and injury: animal models

Suellen M. Walker

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date: 29 July 2021

Nociceptive pathways are functional following birth and acute responses to noxious stimuli have been documented from early development in both clinical and laboratory studies. The ability of noxious afferent input to alter the level of sensitivity of nociceptive pathways in the adult nervous system, with, for example the development of central sensitization, is well established (Woolf, 2011). However, the developing nervous system has additional susceptibilities to alterations in neural activity, and increases due to pain and injury in early life may produce effects not seen following the same input at older ages. As a result, early tissue injury may lead to persistent changes in somatosensory processing and altered sensitivity to future noxious stimuli. The impact of early pain and injury cannot be simply viewed as increasing or decreasing sensitivity as results vary depending on the type and severity of injury and the outcomes used for assessment. Laboratory studies allow evaluation of different forms of injury, potential confounding factors, underlying mechanisms, and potential for modulation by analgesia.

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