Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a congenital disorder caused most often by dominant mutations in the COL1A1 or COL1A2 genes that encode the alpha chains of type I collagen. Severe forms of OI are associated with skeletal deformities and frequent fractures. Skeletal pain can occur acutely after fracture, but also arises chronically without preceding fractures. In this study we assessed OI-associated pain in the Col1a1Jrt/+ mouse, a recently developed model of severe dominant OI. Similar to severe OI in humans, this mouse has significant skeletal abnormalities and develops spontaneous fractures, joint dislocations and vertebral deformities. In this model, we investigated behavioral measures of pain and functional impairment. Significant hypersensitivity to mechanical, heat and cold stimuli, assessed by von Frey filaments, radiant heat paw withdrawal and the acetone tests, respectively, were observed in OI compared to control wildtype littermates. OI mice also displayed reduced motor activity in the running wheel and open field assays. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed no changes between OI and WT mice in innervation of the glabrous skin of the hindpaw or in expression of the pain-related neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related protein in sensory neurons. In contrast, increased sensitivity to mechanical and cold stimulation strongly correlated with the extent of skeletal deformities in OI mice. Thus, we demonstrated that the Col1a1Jrt/+ mouse model of severe OI has hypersensitivity to mechanical and thermal stimuli, consistent with a state of chronic pain.
Keywords: Col1a1(Jrt)/+; Collagen mutation; Hypersensitivity; Osteogenesis imperfecta; Pain; Skeletal deformity.
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