Association between wind-up ratio and central serotonergic function in healthy subjects and depressed patients.
ABSTRACT Temporal summation of C-fiber evoked responses generates an increase in action potential discharge in second-order neurons and in perceived pain intensity (wind-up). This may be related to the central serotonergic system which modulates and partly inhibits sensory input. Aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between wind-up and serotonergic activity using loudness dependence of auditory evoked potentials (LDAEP). 18 healthy subjects were compared to 18 patients with major depression, a disease with a putative serotonin deficit. They were examined with quantitative sensory testing (QST) using the protocol of the German Research Network on Neuropathic Pain (DFNS), including the wind-up ratio (WUR), LDAEP, and psychometric measurements. We found a slight positive correlation between WUR and LDAEP both in healthy controls and depressed patients combined (r=0.340, p=0.043), indicating that WUR may be modulated by serotonergic activity. It can be concluded that inhibitory control to noxious stimuli is partly associated with the central serotonergic function as indicated by LDAEP.