Assessment of Behavioral Disruption in Rats with Abdominal Inflammation Using Visual Cue Titration and the Five-choice Serial-reaction Time Task

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Background:Both acute and chronic pain result in a number of behavioral symptoms in patients, including cognitive effects such as decreased attention and working memory. Intraperitoneal administration of dilute lactic acid in rodents has been used to induce abdominal inflammation and produce effects in behavioral assays of both sensory-discriminative and affective pain modalities.Methods:Intraperitoneal injection of dilute lactic acid was used to study the impact of abdominal inflammation on an operant task requiring sustained visual attention in rats (N = 7 to 15/group) that adapts dynamically to performance ability. The effects of ketoprofen and morphine on lactic acid–induced impairment were compared with those on the disruptive effects of scopolamine.Results:Lactic acid impaired performance in a concentration-dependent manner, increasing the duration of cue presentation required to maintain optimal performance from 0.5 ± 0.2 s (mean ± SD) to 17.2 ± 11.4 s after the administration of 1.8% (v/v) (N = 13). The latency to emit correct responses and to retrieve the food reward were both increased by lactic acid. All effects of lactic acid injection were reversed by both ketoprofen and morphine in a dose-dependent manner. Scopolamine, however, produced dose-dependent, nonpain-related disruption in sustained attention that was not altered by either ketoprofen or morphine.Conclusions:These data demonstrate that abdominal inflammation induced by lactic acid produces robust disruption in a visual attention-based operant task and that this disruption is reversed by analgesics. Future studies will focus on pain-related circuitry and its impact on both limbic forebrain and frontal cortical mechanisms.

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