Altered brain activity during pain processing in fibromyalgia.

Department of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Münster, Münster, Germany.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.13). 10/2008; 44(2):502-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.09.008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is characterized by widespread pain. Studies with functional neuroimaging support the hypothesis of central pain augmentation in FMS. We tested this in our study with a novel paradigm of tonic pain induced by a single stimulus. Tonic pain, in contrast to phasic pain, seems to be a more appropriate experimental approach to study adaptive mechanisms of pain processing in FMS. We hypothesized that brain areas related to the "medial" pain system and the amygdalae will present different activation in patients compared to healthy subjects. An fMRI-block design before, during and after an incision was made in patients with FMS and in healthy controls. Acute pain caused by the incision was measured during the course of the experiment. A 2 factorial model of BOLD-signal changes was designed to explore significant differences of brain activation between both groups during the pain stimulus. Additionally the first Eigenvariates in those areas which show an interaction between both factors were determined over the time course of pain stimulation. Differences of activation in the fronto-cingulate cortex, the supplemental motor areas, and the thalamus were found between both groups with distinct differences in BOLD-signals changes over the time course of pain stimulation, even during anticipation of pain. Our results support the hypothesis that central mechanisms of pain processing in the medial pain system, favourable cognitive/affective factors even during the anticipation of pain, may play an important role for pain processing in patients with FMS.

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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the effect of aerobic exercise on perceptual and cerebro-spinal responses to graded electrocutaneous stimuli. The design comprised 2 x 30 min of cycling exercise at 30% and 70% of peak oxygen consumption (VO2 peak) on separate occasions in a counter-balanced order in 10 healthy participants. Assessment of nociceptive withdrawal reflex threshold (NWR-T), pain threshold (PT), and somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) to graded electrocutaneous stimuli were performed before and after exercise. Perceptual magnitude ratings and SEPs were compared at 30%PT, 60%PT, 100%PT before (Pre), 5 min after (Post1), and 15 min after (Post2) aerobic exercise. There was no difference in the NWR-T and the PT following exercise at 30% and 70% of VO2 peak. ANOVA for the perceptual response within pooled electrocutaneous stimuli show a significant main effect for time (F2,18=5.41, P=0.01) but no difference for exercise intensity (F1,9=0.02, P=0.88). Within-subject contrasts reveal trend differences between 30%PT and 100%PT for Pre-Post1 (P=0.09) and Pre-Post2 (P=0.02). ANOVA for the SEPs peak-to-peak signal amplitude (N1-P1) show significant main effect for time (F2,18=4.04, P=0.04) but no difference for exercise intensity (F1,9=1.83, P=0.21). Pairwise comparisons for time reveal differences between Pre-Post1 (P=0.06) and Pre-Post2 (P=0.01). There was a significant interaction for SEPs N1-P1 between exercise intensity and stimulus intensity (F2,18=3.56, P=0.05). These results indicate that aerobic exercise did not increase the electrocutaneous threshold for pain and the NWR-T. Aerobic exercise attenuated perceptual responses to innocuous stimuli and SEPs N1-P1 response to noxious stimuli.