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Pain Research and Treatment
Volume 2010, Article ID 705874, 9 pages
Research Article

Surgical Incision Induces Anxiety-Like Behavior and Amygdala Sensitization: Effects of Morphine and Gabapentin

1Department of Anesthesia, The Second Xiang-Ya Hospital of Central South University, Renmin Road no.86, Changsha, Hunan 410011, China
2Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Xiang-Ya College of Medicine, Central South University, Tongzipo Road 168, Changsha, Hunan 410089, China
3Department of Human Physiology and Center for Neuroscience, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide SA5001, Australia

Received 15 July 2009; Accepted 7 December 2009

Academic Editor: Anna Maria Aloisi

Copyright © 2010 Chang-Qi Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The role of affective dimension in the postoperative pain is still poorly understood. The present study investigated the development of anxiety-like behavior and amygdala sensitization in incisional pain. Using hind-paw incision model in rats, we showed that surgical incision induced the anxiety-like behavior as determined by elevated plus-maze and open-field tests. Intraperitoneal (IP) morphine administration reversed mechanical allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a dose-dependent manner. Gabapentin also partially reduced incision-evoked mechanical allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a dose-dependent manner. After incision, the expression of phosphorylated cAMP response elements (CRE-) binding protein (p-CREB) was transiently upregulated in the central and basolateral nuclei in the bilateral amygdala. The upregulation of p-CREB was inhibited by morphine and gabapentin. The present study suggested that surgical incision could induce anxiety and amygdala sensitization that can be inhibited by morphine and gabapentin. Thus treatment of surgery-induced affective disturbances by morphine and gabapentin may be a potential important adjunct therapy in the postoperative pain management.