Hemorrhage and Locomotor Deficits Induced by Pain Input after Spinal Cord Injury Are Partially Mediated by Changes in Hemodynamics. Academic Article uri icon


  • Nociceptive input diminishes recovery and increases lesion area after a spinal cord injury (SCI). Recent work has linked these effects to the expansion of hemorrhage at the site of injury. The current article examines whether these adverse effects are linked to a pain-induced rise in blood pressure (BP) and/or flow. Male rats with a low-thoracic SCI were treated with noxious input (electrical stimulation [shock] or capsaicin) soon after injury. Locomotor recovery and BP were assessed throughout. Tissues were collected 3h, 24h, or 21 days later. Both electrical stimulation and capsaicin undermined locomotor function and increased the area of hemorrhage. Changes in BP/flow varied depending on type of noxious input, with only shock producing changes in BP. Providing behavioral control over the termination of noxious stimulation attenuated the rise in BP and hemorrhage. Pretreatment with the -1 adrenergic receptor inverse agonist, prazosin, reduced the stimulation-induced rise in BP and hemorrhage. Prazosin also attenuated the adverse effect that noxious stimulation has on long-term recovery. Administration of the adrenergic agonist, norepinephrine 1 day after injury induced an increase in BP and disrupted locomotor function, but had little effect on hemorrhage. Further, inducing a rise in BP/flow using norepinephrine undermined long-term recovery and increased tissue loss. Mediational analyses suggest that the pain-induced rise in blood flow may foster hemorrhage after SCI. Increased BP appears to act through an independent process to adversely affect locomotor performance, tissue sparing, and long-term recovery.

published proceedings

  • J Neurotrauma

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Strain, M. M., Johnston, D. T., Baine, R. E., Reynolds, J. A., Huang, Y., Henwood, M. K., ... Grau, J. W.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Strain, Misty M||Johnston, David T||Baine, Rachel E||Reynolds, Joshua A||Huang, Yung-Jen||Henwood, Melissa K||Fauss, Gizelle N||Davis, Jacob A||Miranda, Rajesh C||West, Christopher R||Grau, James W

publication date

  • January 2021