Aδ and not C fibers mediate thermal hyperalgesia to short laser stimuli after burn injury in man

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Hocine Slimani, Leon Plaghki, Paola Valenti, Mads U. Werner, Henrik Kehlet, Ron Kupers

It remains unclear which nerve fibers are responsible for mediating hyperalgesia after skin injury. Here, we examined the role of Aδ and C fibers in inflammatory hyperalgesia after a first-degree burn injury. A CO2 laser delivered ultrafast short constant-temperature heat pulses to the upper part of the lower leg to stimulate selectively the relatively fast-conducting thinly myelinated Aδ and the slowly conducting unmyelinated C fibers. Participants were asked to respond as fast as possible whenever they detected a thermal stimulus. Thresholds and reaction times to selective Aδ and C fiber activations were measured in the conditioned and the surrounding intact skin, at pre-injury, and 1 hour and 24 hours after injury. First-degree burn injury caused a significant decrease in Aδ fiber detection thresholds and a significant increase in the proportion of Aδ-fiber-mediated responses in the inflamed area 24 hours, but not 1 hour, after burn injury. No changes in heat perception were observed in the intact skin surrounding the injury. No group differences in C-fiber-mediated sensations were observed. Our findings indicate that quickly adapting Aδ fibers but not quickly adapting C fibers are sensitized when activated by short and ultrafast heat stimuli after skin burn injury. Our results further show that this change occurs between 1 hour and 24 hours after injury and that it does not extend to the skin surrounding the injury.

Udgave nummer11
Sider (fra-til)2331-2338
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2018

ID: 209802130