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Understanding the non-sensory components of the pain experience is crucial to developing effective treatments for pain conditions. Chronic pain is associated with increased incidence of anxio-depressive disorders, and patients often report feelings of vulnerability which can decrease quality of life. In animal models of pain, observation of behaviours such as thigmotaxis can be used to detect such affective disturbances by exploiting the influence of nociceptive stimuli on the innate behavioural conflict between exploration of a novel space and predator avoidance behaviour. This study investigates whether acute and repeated bladder inflammation in adult female Wistar rats increases thigmotactic behaviour in the open field paradigm, and aims to determine whether this correlates with activation in the central amygdala, as measured by c-Fos immunoreactivity. Additionally, up-regulation of inflammatory mediators in the urinary bladder was measured using RT-qPCR array featuring 92 transcripts to examine how local mediators change under experimental conditions. We found acute but not repeated turpentine inflammation of the bladder increased thigmotactic behaviour (decreased frequency of entry to the inner zone) in the open field paradigm, a result that was also observed in the catheter-only instrumentation group. Decreases in locomotor activity were also observed in both models in turpentine and instrumentation groups. No differences were observed in c-Fos activation, although a general increased in activation along the rostro-caudal axis was seen. Inflammatory mediator up-regulation was greatest following acute inflammation, with CCL12, CCL7, and IL-1β significantly up-regulated in both conditions when compared to naïve tissue. These results suggest that acute catheterisation, with or without turpentine inflammation, induces affective alterations detectable in the open field paradigm accompanied by up-regulation of multiple inflammatory mediators.

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Amygdala, Behaviour, Cytokines, Inflammation, Open Field, Pain, c-Fos