Imaging CNS modulation of pain in humans.
ABSTRACT Pain is a highly complex and subjective experience that is not linearly related to the nociceptive input. What is clear from anecdotal reports over the centuries and more recently from animal and human experimentation is that nociceptive information processing and consequent pain perception is subject to significant pro- and anti-nociceptive modulations. These modulations can be initiated reflexively or by contextual manipulations of the pain experience including cognitive and emotional factors. This provides a necessary survival function since it allows the pain experience to be altered according to the situation rather than having pain always dominate. The so-called descending pain modulatory network involving predominantly medial and frontal cortical areas, in combination with specific subcortical and brain stem nuclei appears to be one key system for the endogenous modulation of pain. Furthermore, recent findings from functional and anatomical neuroimaging support the notion that an altered interaction of pro- and anti-nociceptive mechanisms may contribute to the development or maintenance of chronic pain states. Research on the involved circuitry and implemented mechanisms is a major focus of contemporary neuroscientific research in the field of pain and should provide new insights to prevent and treat chronic pain states.
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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.
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ABSTRACT: It is increasingly recognized that the efficacy of medical treatments is determined in critical part by the therapeutic context in which it is delivered. An important characteristic of that context is treatment history. We recently reported first evidence for a carry-over of treatment experience to subsequent treatment response across different treatment approaches. Here we expand on these findings by exploring the psychological and neurobiological underpinnings of the effect of treatment experience on future treatment response in an experimental model of placebo analgesia with a conditioning procedure. In a combined behavioral and neuroimaging study we experimentally induced positive or negative experiences with an analgesic treatment in two groups of healthy human subjects. Subsequently we compared responses to a second, different analgesic treatment between both groups. We found that participants with an experimentally induced negative experience with the first treatment showed a substantially reduced response to a second analgesic treatment. Intriguingly, several psychological trait variables including anxiety, depression and locus of control modulate the susceptibility for the effects of prior treatment experiences on future treatment outcome. These behavioral effects were supported by neuroimaging data which showed significant differences in brain regions encoding pain and analgesia between groups. These differences in activation patterns were present not only during the pain phase, but also already prior to painful stimulation and scaled with the individual treatment response. Our data provide behavioral and neurobiological evidence showing that the influence of treatment history transfers over time and over therapeutic approaches. Our experimental findings emphasize the careful consideration of treatment history and a strictly systematic treatment approach to avoid negative carry-over effects.PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e109014. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0109014 · 3.53 Impact Factor
Physiology 07/2013; 28(4):212-213. DOI:10.1152/physiol.00027.2013 · 5.65 Impact Factor