Latent sensitization: a model for stress-sensitive chronic pain

Curr Protoc Neurosci. 2015 Apr 1:71:9.50.1-9.50.14. doi: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0950s71.


Latent sensitization is a rodent model of chronic pain that reproduces both its episodic nature and its sensitivity to stress. It is triggered by a wide variety of injuries ranging from injection of inflammatory agents to nerve damage. It follows a characteristic time course in which a hyperalgesic phase is followed by a phase of remission. The hyperalgesic phase lasts between a few days to several months, depending on the triggering injury. Injection of μ-opioid receptor inverse agonists (e.g., naloxone or naltrexone) during the remission phase induces reinstatement of hyperalgesia. This indicates that the remission phase does not represent a return to the normal state, but rather an altered state in which hyperalgesia is masked by constitutive activity of opioid receptors. Importantly, stress also triggers reinstatement. Here we describe in detail procedures for inducing and following latent sensitization in its different phases in rats and mice.

Keywords: chronic pain; constitutive activity; hyperalgesia; latent sensitization; neuropathic pain; opioid receptor; stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Sensitization / physiology*
  • Chronic Pain / physiopathology*
  • Clinical Protocols*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Female
  • Hyperalgesia / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley