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Evaluating Baseline and Sensitised Heat Nociception in Adult Drosophila

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Josephine N. Massingham, Olga Baron, G. Gregory Neely

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4079
JournalBio-protocol LLC
Issue number13
Published5 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This work was supported in part through National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grants APP1026310, APP1029672, APP1028887, APP1046090, APP1042416, and APP1086851. G.G. Neely was supported by an NHMRC career development fellowship II CDF1111940. Finally, we thank the generosity of John Chong and Anne Chong for their financial support of work in our laboratory. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Authors. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


Chronic pain is a complex disease that affects a large proportion of the population. With little to no effective treatments currently available for patients, this malady presents a large burden to society. Drosophila melanogaster has been previously used to describe conserved molecular components of nociception in larvae and adults. However, adult assays tend to rely on avoidance behaviours, and whilst larval acute thermal avoidance assays exist, larvae are not best suited to a chronic pain scenario as the condition must be long-term. Therefore, an adult thermal nociception response assay was required to study injury-evoked changes in heat nociception threshold (allodynia and hyperalgesia) over time, and we describe such a protocol here. Following leg amputation, flies display increased thermal sensitivity (allodynia) to innocuous temperatures but not an increase in magnitude of response (hyperalgesia) to noxious heat. Our method allows for individualised analysis of both allodynia and hyperalgesia.

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