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Methodology and applicability of the human contact burn injury model: A systematic review

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The contact burn injury model is an experimental contact thermode-based physiological pain model primarily applied in research of drug efficacy in humans. The employment of the contact burn injury model across studies has been inconsistent regarding essential methodological variables, challenging the validity of the model. This systematic review analyzes methodologies, outcomes, and research applications of the contact burn injury model. Based on these results, we propose an improved contact burn injury testing paradigm. A literature search was conducted (15-JUL-2020) using PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. Sixty-four studies were included. The contact burn injury model induced consistent levels of primary and secondary hyperalgesia. However, the analyses revealed variations in the methodology of the contact burn injury heating paradigm and the post-burn application of test stimuli. The contact burn injury model had limited testing sensitivity in demonstrating analgesic efficacy. There was a weak correlation between experimental and clinical pain intensity variables. The data analysis was limited by the methodological heterogenicity of the different studies and a high risk of bias across the studies. In conclusion, although the contact burn injury model provides robust hyperalgesia, it has limited efficacy in testing analgesic drug response. Recommendations for future use of the model are being provided, but further research is needed to improve the sensitivity of the contact burn injury method. The protocol for this review has been published in PROSPERO (ID: CRD42019133734).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0254790
JournalPLoS One
Volume16
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)e0254790
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 67388861