Neuropathic pain is associated with significant co-morbidity, including anxiety and depression, which impact considerably on the overall patient experience. However, pain co-morbidity symptoms are rarely assessed in animal models of neuropathic pain. To improve the clinical validity of a widely used rodent model of traumatic peripheral neuropathy, we have investigated fear-avoidance- and depression-related behaviours in nerve-injured and sham-operated mice over a 4 week period.
Male C57BL/6J mice were subjected to partial sciatic nerve ligation (PSNL) or sham surgery and were assessed on days 7, 14, and 28 after operation. Withdrawal thresholds to punctate mechanical and cooling stimuli were measured. Mice were tested on the novel open-field and elevated plus-maze tests for fear-avoidance behaviour, and on the tail suspension test for depression-related behaviour.
Hypersensitivity to punctate mechanical and cool stimuli was evident up to day 28 after PSNL. However, there was no change in fear-avoidance- or depression-related behaviours regardless of interval after-surgery.
These data demonstrate that pain behaviour in nerve-injured C57BL/6J mice was not associated with alterations in emotion-related behaviours.