Noxious Stimulation Induces Acute Hemorrhage and Impairs Long-Term Recovery after Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) in Female Rats: Evidence Estrous Cycle May Have a Modulatory Effect. Academic Article uri icon


  • Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are often the result of traumatic accidents, which also produce multiple other injuries (polytrauma). Nociceptive input from associated injuries has been shown to significantly impair recovery post-SCI. Historically, work in our laboratory has focused exclusively on male animals; however, increasing incidence of SCI in females requires research to determine whether pain (nociceptive) input poses the same risk to their recovery. Some animal studies have shown that females demonstrate greater tissue preservation and better locomotor recovery post-SCI. Given this, we examined the effect of sex on SCI recovery in two pain models-intermittent electrical stimulation (shock) to the tail or capsaicin injection to the hindpaw. Female rats received a lower thoracic contusion injury and were exposed to noxious stimulation the next day. The acute effect of noxious input on cardiovascular function, locomotor performance, and hemorrhage were assessed. Treatment with capsaicin or noxious electrical stimulation disrupted locomotor performance, increased blood pressure, and disrupted stepping. Additional experiments examined the long-term consequences of noxious input, demonstrating that both noxious electrical stimulation and capsaicin impair long-term recovery in female rats. Interestingly, injury had a greater effect on behavioral performance when progesterone and estrogen were low (metestrus). Conversely, nociceptive input led to a greater disruption in locomotor performance and produced a greater rise in blood pressure in animals injured during estrus.

published proceedings

  • Neurotrauma Rep

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Baine, R. E., Johnston, D. T., Strain, M. M., Henwood, M. K., Davis, J. A., Reynolds, J. A., Giles, E. D., & Grau, J. W.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Baine, Rachel E||Johnston, David T||Strain, Misty M||Henwood, Melissa K||Davis, Jacob A||Reynolds, Joshua A||Giles, Erin D||Grau, James W

publication date

  • January 2022