Muscle Fatigue Increases the Probability of Developing Hyperalgesia in Mice

Takeshi Yokoyama, Tammy L. Lisi, Steven A. Moore and Kathleen A. Sluka

Chronic muscle pain is a major clinical problem that is often associated with fatigue. Conversely, chronic fatigue conditions are commonly associated with muscle pain. We tested the hypothesis that muscle fatigue enhances hyperalgesia associated with injection of acidic saline into muscle. We evaluated mechanical sensitivity of the paw in mice after 2 intramuscular injections of saline in a fatigue and a control group.  Mechanical hyperalgesia was observed in both fatigue and control groups after intramuscular injection of pH 4.0, but only the fatigue group after injection of pH 5. Neither the fatigue nor the control group developed hyperalgesia in response to intramuscular injection of pH 6 or pH 7.2. In conclusion, fatigue modified the susceptibility of mice to acid injection of pH 5.0 to result in mechanical hyperalgesia after 2 injections of pH 5.0. The fatigue task did not produce measurable changes in the muscle tissue suggesting a central mechanism mediating the enhancement of hyperalgesia. The authors conclude that the data therefore show that muscle fatigue can enhance the likelihood that one develops pain to a mild insult. Clinically, this could relate to the development of pain from such conditions as repetitive strain injury, and may relate to the interrelationship between chronic pain and fatigue.

The Journal of Pain, 2007, 8(9), 692-699

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