Binge Ethanol Consumption Increases Inflammatory Pain Responses and Mechanical and Cold Sensitivity: Tigecycline Treatment Efficacy Shows Sex Differences

Susan E. Bergeson, Henry Blanton, Joseph M. Martinez, David C. Curtis, Caitlyn Sherfey, Brandon Seegmiller, Patrick C. Marquardt, Jessica A. Groot, Clayton L. Allison, Christian Bezboruah, Josée Guindon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: Physicians have long reported that patients with chronic pain show higher tendencies for alcohol use disorder (AUD), and AUD patients appear to have higher pain sensitivities. The goal of this study was to test 2 hypotheses: (i) binge alcohol consumption increases inflammatory pain and mechanical and cold sensitivities; and (ii) tigecycline is an effective treatment for alcohol-mediated-increased pain behaviors and sensitivities. Both female and male mice were used to test the additional hypothesis that important sex differences in the ethanol (EtOH)-related traits would be seen. Methods: “Drinking in the Dark” (DID) alcohol consuming and nondrinking control, female and male, adult C57BL/6J mice were evaluated for inflammatory pain behaviors and for the presence of mechanical and cold sensitivities. Inflammatory pain was produced by intraplantar injection of formalin (10 μl, 2.5% in saline). For cold sensation, a 20 μl acetone drop was used. Mechanical withdrawal threshold was measured by an electronic von Frey anesthesiometer. Efficacy of tigecycline (80 mg/kg i.p.) to reduce DID-related pain responses and sensitivity was tested. Results: DID EtOH consumption increased inflammatory pain behavior, while it also produced sustained mechanical and cold sensitivities in both females and males. Tigecycline produced antinociceptive effects in males; a pro-nociceptive effect was seen in females in the formalin test. Likewise, the drug reduced both mechanical and cold sensitivities in males, but females showed an increase in sensitivity in both tests. Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that binge drinking increases pain, touch, and thermal sensations in both sexes. In addition, we have identified sex-specific effects of tigecycline on inflammatory pain, as well as mechanical and cold sensitivities. The development of tigecycline as an AUD pharmacotherapy may need consideration of its pro-nociceptive action in females. Further studies are needed to investigate the mechanism underlying the sex-specific differences in nociception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2506-2515
Number of pages10
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol Use Disorder
  • Ethanol
  • Mechanical and Cold Sensitivities
  • Pain Sensitivity
  • Tigecycline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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