Neonatal, short-lasting, local, nociceptive insult by carrageenan can cause long-term alterations in somatosensory and neurohumoral systems. We previously revealed hyporesponsiveness of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) after painful stimulation of adult rats in a neonatal carrageenan-induced pain model. Sleep disturbance has been highly correlated with pain and ANS activity. In the present study, adult rats that had received an intraplantar injection of carrageenan on postnatal day 1 were investigated to determine if there were alterations in their sleep architecture upon the stimulation of pain. Polysomnographic and heart rate variability recordings were carried out, with a wireless transmission of data, for 24 h under baseline conditions and after an intraplantar injection of complete Freund's adjuvant to induce sustained nociception. Increased active awake (AW) and decreased quiet sleep (QS) and paradoxical sleep (PS) times were noted in the control animals. In the carrageenan-treated rats, the AW time increased but with decreased alertness, as revealed by decreases in beta and increases in theta power. The QS time did not decrease. The PS time decreased during the first 12 h, then increased during the following 12 h, suggesting an early rebound of formerly deprived PS time. Sympathetic activation under sustained pain was not apparent in any stage of sleep in carrageenan-treated rats and was even suppressed in AW time. An impaired sympathetic reaction to pain may have contributed to the atypical changes in sleep architecture in these rats. In conclusion, pain in early life has a long-term effect on the cardiovascular-autonomic-electroencephalographic responses to pain later in life. The physiological relevance of these results remains undetermined.
- Journal Article