Social transfer of pain in mice

Monique L. Smith, Caroline M. Hostetler, Mary M. Heinricher, Andrey E. Ryabinin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

A complex relationship exists between the psychosocial environment and the perception and experience of pain, and the mechanisms of the social communication of pain have yet to be elucidated. The present study examined the social communication of pain and demonstrates that "bystander" mice housed and tested in the same room as mice subjected to inflammatory pain or withdrawal from morphine or alcohol develop corresponding hyperalgesia. Olfactory cues mediate the transfer of hyperalgesia to the bystander mice, which can be measured using mechanical, thermal, and chemical tests. Hyperalgesia in bystanders does not co-occur with anxiety or changes in corticosterone and cannot be explained by visually dependent emotional contagion or stress-induced hyperalgesia. These experiments reveal the multifaceted relationship between the social environment and pain behavior and support the use of mice as a model system for investigating these factors. In addition, these experiments highlight the need for proper consideration of how experimental animals are housed and tested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1600855
JournalScience Advances
Volume2
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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