Cutaneous wounds produced by capsaicin treatment of newborn rats are due to trophic disturbances

Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1998 Jan-Feb;20(1):75-81. doi: 10.1016/s0892-0362(97)00077-9.


The purpose of this study was to show that the occurrence of skin ulcers observed in animals neonatally treated with the neurotoxin capsaicin coincide with trophic disturbances. In addition, cutaneous lesions increased when self-grooming and scratching behaviors reached maturity. The temporal course of cephalic cutaneous wounds in neonatally capsaicin-treated rats was evaluated in animals wearing and not wearing plastic collars from postnatal day (P) 21 until P45. The collars were used to prevent self-grooming and scratching. Beginning on P21, capsaicin-treated rats under both conditions showed transient skin ulcers distributed throughout the head and neck regions. In the capsaicin-treated group without collars, lesions reached their greatest severity by P40, when self-grooming and scratching behaviors obtained adult characteristics. Furthermore, no lesions were detected after 25 days. In the capsaicin-treated rats that wore plastic collars, the widest distribution of skin lesions occurred on P55, after which time lesions vanished detection by 25 days. In this latter group, the cutaneous lesions were exacerbated when collars were removed. Data suggest that transient cutaneous wounds associated with neonatal capsaicin administration may be mediated via capsaicin-sensitive sensory neurons that are involved in trophic and regenerating neural mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / physiology*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Capsaicin / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Grooming
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Ulcer / chemically induced*
  • Skin Ulcer / pathology
  • Skin Ulcer / psychology


  • Capsaicin