We previously showed evidence for a genetic association of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) with dystonia. Involvement of the HLA system suggests that CRPS has a genetic component with perturbed regulation of inflammation and neuroplasticity as possible disease mechanisms. However, it is at present unclear whether the observed association with HLA-B62 and HLA-DQ8 in CRPS patients with dystonia also holds true for patients without dystonia. Therefore, we tested the possible association with HLA-B62 and HLA-DQ8 in a clinically homogeneous group of 131 CRPS patients without dystonia. In addition, we investigated the possible association with other alleles of the HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-C, HLA-DR, and HLA-DQ loci. We showed an increased prevalence of HLA-DQ8 (molecularly typed as HLA-DQB1*03:02; OR = 1.65 [95% CI 1.12-2.42], P = .014) in CRPS without dystonia, whereas no association was observed for HLA-B62 (molecularly typed as HLA-B*15:01; OR = 1.22 [95% CI .78-1.92], P = .458). Our data suggest that CRPS with and CRPS without dystonia may be genetically different, but overlapping, disease entities because only HLA-DQ8 is associated with both. The findings also indicate that distinct biological pathways may play a role in both CRPS subtypes.
This study is the first to replicate a specific HLA region conferring genetic risk for the development of CRPS. Moreover, associations of HLA-DQ8 with both CRPS with and CRPS without dystonia, and HLA-B62 only with CRPS with dystonia, suggest that these disease entities may be genetically different, but overlapping.
"Later experiments using a beating cardiomyocyte preparation suggested that most CRPS, but not healthy, patients had autoantibodies binding to and activating the M-2 muscarinic and/or the b-2 adrenergic receptor . Additional evidence for autoimmune mechanisms in CRPS includes genetic data supporting CRPS associations with specific human leukocyte antigens   , studies showing that IgG from CRPS patients worsens nociceptive sensitization in laboratory animals , and case reports of Langerhans antigen presenting cell proliferation in CRPS-affected skin . While many of the aforementioned data involve small patient numbers and heterogeneous patient populations, these intriguing reports suggest that autoimmune mechanisms may support CRPS. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a painful, disabling, chronic condition whose etiology remains poorly understood. The recent suggestion that immunological mechanisms may underlie CRPS provides an entirely novel framework in which to study the condition and consider new approaches to treatment. Using a murine fracture/cast model of CRPS, we studied the effects of B-cell depletion using anti-CD20 antibodies or by performing experiments in genetically B-cell-deficient (μMT) mice. We observed that mice treated with anti-CD20 developed attenuated vascular and nociceptive CRPS-like changes after tibial fracture and 3 weeks of cast immobilization. In mice with established CRPS-like changes, the depletion of CD-20+ cells slowly reversed nociceptive sensitization. Correspondingly, μMT mice, deficient in producing IgM, failed to fully develop CRPS-like changes after fracture and casting. Depletion of CD20+ cells had no detectable effects on nociceptive sensitization in a model of postoperative incisional pain, however. Immunohistochemical experiments showed that CD20+ cells accumulate near the healing fracture but few such cells collect in skin or sciatic nerves. On the other hand IgM-containing immune complexes were deposited in skin and sciatic nerve after fracture in wild-type but not in μMT fracture/cast mice. Additional experiments demonstrated that complement system activation and deposition of membrane attack complexes were partially blocked by anti-CD20+ treatment. Collectively our results suggest that CD20-positive B-cells produce antibodies that ultimately support the CRPS-like changes in the murine fracture/cast model. Therapies directed at reducing B-cell activity may be of use in treating patients with CRPS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a painful condition, which arises in a limb after trauma. CRPS can profoundly affect patients' quality of life, and there is no cure. CRPS is associated with limb-confined sensory, motor, skin, bone and autonomic abnormalities. Recent research has shown that some patients respond to treatment with immunoglobulins, and that a majority have IgG serum-autoantibodies directed against, and activating autonomic receptors. CRPS serum-IgG, when transferred to mice elicits abnormal behaviour. These results suggest that CRPS is associated with an autoantibody-mediated autoimmune process in some cases. CRPS has unusual features, including a non-destructive, and regionally-confined course. We propose that CRPS constitutes a prototype of a new kind of autoimmunity, which we term 'IRAM' (Injury-triggered, Regionally-restricted Autoantibody-mediated autoimmune disorder with Minimally-destructive course). Understanding autoimmune contribution to CRPS should allow the exploration of novel treatment modalities in the future. Additional 'functional' disorders, painful or painless may be autoimmune in nature.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuropathic pain conditions are common after nerve injuries and are suggested to be regulated in part by genetic factors. We have previously demonstrated a strong genetic influence of the rat major histocompatibility complex on development of neuropathic pain behavior after peripheral nerve injury. In order to study if the corresponding human leukocyte antigen complex (HLA) also influences susceptibility to pain, we performed an association study in patients that had undergone surgery for inguinal hernia (n=189). One group had developed a chronic pain state following the surgical procedure, while the control group had undergone the same type of operation, without any persistent pain. HLA DRB1genotyping revealed a significantly increased proportion of patients in the pain group carrying DRB1(∗)04 compared to patients in the pain-free group. Additional typing of the DQB1 gene further strengthened the association; carriers of the DQB1(∗)03:02 allele together with DRB1(∗)04 displayed an increased risk of postsurgery pain with an odds risk of 3.16 (1.61-6.22) compared to noncarriers. This finding was subsequently replicated in the clinical material of patients with lumbar disc herniation (n=258), where carriers of the DQB1(∗)03:02 allele displayed a slower recovery and increased pain. In conclusion, we here for the first time demonstrate that there is an HLA-dependent risk of developing pain after surgery or lumbar disc herniation; mediated by the DRB1(∗)04 - DQB1(∗)03:02 haplotype. Further experimental and clinical studies are needed to fine-map the HLA effect and to address underlying mechanisms.
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