Single exposures to lipopolysaccharides (LPS) produce deep tissue pain in humans and cutaneous hyperalgesia in rodents. While tolerance develops to many effects of LPS, sensitization to hyperalgesia is documented after a single injection. To determine the effect of long-term exposure to LPS, we explored the chronic effect of LPS on movement-evoked pain using a new assay based on grip force in mice. We found that a single systemic injection of LPS (i.p. or s.c.) induced a dose-related decrease in forelimb grip force responses beginning 6-8 h after injection and peaking between 9 and 24 h. The consequence of LPS is likely hyperalgesia rather than weakness as these decreases were rapidly attenuated by either 10 mg/kg of morphine i.p. or 10 μg of morphine injected intrathecally (i.t.). Complete tolerance to this hyperalgesia developed after repeated injections of LPS at doses of 0.9 mg/kg i.p. or 5 mg/kg s.c. Tolerance began after a single injection and was fully developed after as few as four injections of 5 mg/kg of LPS delivered s.c. The concentration of circulating LPS 5 h after a single parenteral injection was less in LPS-tolerant mice than naïve controls, suggesting that tolerance may result from a more efficient clearance of LPS from the circulation. Injected i.t., LPS also induced hyperalgesia, however, tolerance did not develop to multiple injections by this route. There was no cross-tolerance between s.c. and i.t. injections of LPS. These data indicate that decreases in grip force are a sensitive measure of LPS-induced movement-evoked hyperalgesia and that tolerance develops to parenteral but not central hyperalgesic effects of LPS.
- Grip force