Repetitive noxious stimuli during early development affect acute and long-term mechanical sensitivity in rats

N. J. van den Hoogen*, J. Patijn, D. Tibboel, E. A. Joosten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Prematurely born infants are frequently exposed to painful procedures in the neonatal intensive care unit, causing changes to the development of the nervous system lasting into adulthood. The current study aims to study acute and long-term consequences of neonatal repetitive noxious stimulation.

METHODS: Rat pups received either 4 or 10 unilateral needle pricks per day, while control littermates received 4 or 10 tactile stimuli in the first postnatal week. Behavioural sensitivity was assessed in the neonatal phase, in adulthood, and after re-injury of the same dermatome in adulthood.

RESULTS: An increase in the number of repetitive painful stimuli, from 4 to 10 needle pricks per day, resulted in increased mechanical hypersensitivity during the neonatal period. In adulthood, repetitive painful stimuli resulted in hyposensitivity to mechanical stimuli, while thermal sensitivity was unaffected. After re-injury of the same dermatome in adulthood, the number of repetitive noxious stimuli did not affect mechanical hypersensitivity. Both needle prick groups showed an increased duration of postoperative hypersensitivity compared to control.

CONCLUSION: This study shows that repetitive noxious stimulation during the early postnatal period affects acute and long-term mechanical sensitivity. Therefore, the amount of nociceptive stimuli should be minimized or adequately treated in a clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-31
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • LIFE


Dive into the research topics of 'Repetitive noxious stimuli during early development affect acute and long-term mechanical sensitivity in rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this