Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Immune function and sensitivity to pain are closely related, but the association between early life inflammation and sensory nervous system development is poorly understood-especially in humans. Here, in term-born infants, we measure brain activity and reflex withdrawal activity (using EEG and EMG) and behavioural and physiological activity (using the PIPP-R score) to assess the impact of suspected early-onset neonatal infection on tactile- and noxious-evoked responses. We present evidence that neonatal inflammation (assessed by measuring C-reactive protein levels) is associated with increased spinal cord excitability and evoked brain activity following both tactile and noxious stimulation. There are early indications that this hyperalgesia could be maintained post-inflammation, supporting pre-clinical reports of early-life immune dysfunction influencing pain sensitivity in adults.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Humans, Hyperalgesia, Infant, Newborn, Inflammation, Nociception, Pain, Spinal Cord