Malafoglia, V., Colasanti, M., Raffaeli, W., Balciunas, D., Giordano, A., and Bellipanni, G. (2014) Extreme thermal noxious stimuli induce pain responses in zebrafish larvae. Journal of Cellular Physiology. 229(3):300-8.
Exposing tissues to extreme high or low temperature leads to burns. Burned animals sustain several types of damage, from the disruption of the tissue to degeneration of axons projecting through muscle and skin. Such damage causes pain due to both inflammation and axonal degeneration (neuropathic-like pain). Thus, the approach to cure and alleviate the symptoms of burns must be twofold: rebuilding the tissue that has been destroyed and alleviating the pain derived from the burns. While tissue regeneration techniques have been developed, less is known on the treatment of the induced pain. Thus, appropriate animal models are necessary for the development of the best treatment for pain induced in burned tissues. We have developed a methodology in the zebrafish aimed to produce a new animal model for the study of pain induced by burns. Here we show that two events linked to the onset of burn-induced inflammation and neuropathic-like pain in mammals, degeneration of axons innervating the affected tissues and over-expression of specific genes in sensory tissues, are conserved from zebrafish to mammals.