Purpose: Chronic ocular pain is poorly understood and difficult to manage. We developed a murine model of corneal surface injury (CSI)–induced chronic ocular neuropathic pain. The study focuses on changes in corneal nerve morphology and associated short-and long-term pain-like behavior after CSI. Methods: CSI was induced in mice by local application of an alkali solution (0.75 N NaOH). Corneal nerve architecture, morphology, density, and length were studied. Eye-wiping was evaluated before and after CSI in response to hypertonic saline (2 M NaCl). Naltrexone (NTX) or Naloxone-methiodide (NLX-me), opioid receptor antagonists, were given subcutaneously (s.c., 3 mg/kg) or topically (eye drop, 100 µM), and then an eye-wiping test was performed. Results: CSI caused partial corneal deinnervation followed by gradual reinnervation. Regenerated nerves displayed increased tortuosity, beading, and branching. CSI enhanced hypertonic saline-induced eye-wiping behavior compared to baseline or sham-injury (P < 0.01). This hypersensitivity peaked at 10 days and subsided 14 days after CSI. Administration of NTX, or NLX-me, a selective peripheral opioid antagonist, reinstated eye-wiping behavior in the injury group, but not in the sham groups (P < 0.05). Conclusions: This study introduces a model of chronic ocular pain and corneal neuropathy following CSI. CSI induces central and peripheral opioid receptor-dependent latent sensitization (LS) that is unmasked by systemic or topical administration of opioid antagonists. Translational Relevance: This model of chronic ocular pain establishes LS as a new inhibitory mechanism in the oculotrigeminal system and may be used for potential diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for ocular neuropathy.
|Journal||Translational Vision Science and Technology|
|State||Published - Mar 2019|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by the University of Kentucky CTSA Grant KL2 TR001996C (RJCA) and R01NS62306 (BKT).
Copyright 2019 The Authors.
- Corneal surface
- Latent sensitization
- Neuropathic pain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering