[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Little is known about the effect of migraine on neural cognitive networks. However, cognitive dysfunction is increasingly being recognized as a comorbidity of chronic pain. Pain appears to affect cognitive ability and the function of cognitive networks over time, and decrements in cognitive function can exacerbate affective and sensory components of pain. We investigated differences in cognitive processing and pain-cognition interactions between 14 migraine patients and 14 matched healthy controls using an fMRI block-design with two levels of task difficulty and concurrent heat (painful and not painful) stimuli. Across groups, cognitive networks were recruited in response to a difficult cognitive task, and a pain-task interaction was found in the right (contralateral to pain stimulus) posterior insula (pINS), such that activity was modulated by decreasing the thermal pain stimulus or by engaging the difficult cognitive task. Migraine patients had less task-related deactivation within the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and left dorsal anterior midcingulate cortex (aMCC) compared to controls. These regions have been reported to have decreased cortical thickness and cognitive-related deactivation within other pain populations, and are also associated with pain regulation, suggesting the current findings may reflect altered cognitive function and top-down regulation of pain. During pain conditions, patients had decreased task-related activity, but more widespread task-related reductions in pain-related activity, compared to controls, suggesting cognitive resources may be diverted from task-related to pain-reduction-related processes in migraine. Overall, these findings suggest that migraine is associated with altered cognitive-related neural activity, which may reflect altered pain regulatory processes as well as broader functional restructuring.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Clinical neuroimaging
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the neuroanatomical and functional brain changes in migraine patients relative to healthy controls, we used a combined analytical approach including voxel- and surface-based morphometry along with resting state functional connectivity to determine whether areas showing structural alterations in patients also showed abnormal functional connectivity. Additionally, we wanted to assess whether these structural and functional changes were associated with group differences in pain catastrophizing and migraine-related disease variables in patients. We acquired T1-weighted anatomical and functional magnetic resonance imaging scans during rest in human subjects with a diagnosis of migraine and healthy controls. Structural analyses revealed greater left hippocampal gray matter volume and reduced cortical thickness in the left anterior midcingulate in patients compared with controls. We also observed negative associations between pain catastrophizing and migraine disease variables and gray matter in areas implicated in processing the sensory, affective, and cognitive aspects of pain in patients. Functional connectivity analyses showed that migraine patients displayed disrupted connectivity between default mode, salience, cognitive, visuospatial, and sensorimotor networks, which was associated with group differences in pain catastrophizing and migraine-related disease variables in patients. Together, our findings show widespread morphological and functional brain abnormalities in migraineurs in affective, cognitive, visual, and pain-related brain areas, which are associated with increased pain catastrophizing, disease chronicity, and severity of symptoms, suggesting that these structural and functional changes may be a consequence of
repeated, long-term nociceptive signaling leading to increased pain sensitivity, mood disturbances, and maladaptive coping strategies to deal with unrelenting pain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As the practice of conducting longitudinal fMRI studies to assess mechanisms of pain-reducing interventions becomes more common, there is a great need to assess the test–retest reliability of the pain-related BOLD fMRI signal across repeated sessions. This study quantitatively evaluated the reliability of heat pain-related BOLD fMRI brain responses in healthy volunteers across 3 sessions conducted on separate days using two measures: (1) intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) calculated based on signal amplitude and (2) spatial overlap. The ICC analysis of pain-related BOLD fMRI responses showed fair-to-moderate intersession reliability in brain areas regarded as part of the cortical pain network. Areas with the highest intersession reliability based on the ICC analysis included the anterior midcingulate cortex, anterior insula, and second somatosensory cortex. Areas with the lowest intersession reliability based on the ICC analysis also showed low spatial reliability; these regions included pregenual anterior cingulate cortex, primary somatosensory cortex, and posterior insula. Thus, this study found regional differences in pain-related BOLD fMRI response reliability, which may provide useful information to guide longitudinal pain studies. A simple motor task (finger-thumb opposition) was performed by the same subjects in the same sessions as the painful heat stimuli were delivered. Intersession reliability of fMRI activation in cortical motor areas was comparable to previously published findings for both spatial overlap and ICC measures, providing support for the validity of the analytical approach used to assess intersession reliability of pain-related fMRI activation. A secondary finding of this study is that the use of standard ICC alone as a measure of reliability may not be sufficient, as the underlying variance structure of an fMRI dataset can result in inappropriately high ICC values; a method to eliminate these false positive results was used in this study and is recommended for future studies of test–retest reliability.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a debilitating, idiopathic chronic pain condition. For many BMS patients, burning oral pain begins in late morning and becomes more intense throughout the day, peaking by late afternoon or evening. We investigated brain gray matter volume (GMV) with voxel-based morphometry (VBM), white matter fractional anisotropy (FA) with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and functional connectivity in resting state functional MRI (rsfMRI) in a tightly screened, homogeneous sample of 9 female, post/peri-menopausal BMS patients and 9 matched healthy controls. Patients underwent two scanning sessions in the same day: in the morning, when ongoing pain/burning was low, and in the afternoon, when pain/burning was significantly higher. Patients had increased GMV and lower FA in the hippocampus (Hc), and decreased GMV in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). rsfMRI revealed altered connectivity patterns in different states of pain/burning, with increased connectivity between mPFC (a node in the default mode network (DMN)) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), occipital cortex, ventromedial PFC, and bilateral Hc/amygdala in the afternoon compared to morning session. Furthermore, mPFC-Hc connectivity was higher in BMS patients than controls for the afternoon, but not morning session. mPFC-Hc connectivity was related to BDI scores both between groups and between burning states within patients, suggesting that depression and anxiety partially explain pain-related brain dysfunction in BMS. Overall, we provide multiple lines of evidence supporting aberrant structure and function in the mPFC and Hc, and implicate a circuit involving the mPFC and Hc in regulating mood and depressive symptoms in BMS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several studies have reported reduced cerebral gray matter (GM) volume or density in chronic pain conditions, but there is limited research on the plasticity of the human cortex in response to psychological interventions. We investigated GM changes after cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in patients with chronic pain. We used voxel-based morphometry to compare anatomic magnetic resonance imaging scans of 13 patients with mixed chronic pain types before and after an 11-week CBT treatment and to 13 healthy control participants. CBT led to significant improvements in clinical measures. Patients did not differ from healthy controls in GM anywhere in the brain. After treatment, patients had increased GM in the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal, posterior parietal, subgenual anterior cingulate/orbitofrontal, and sensorimotor cortices, as well as hippocampus, and reduced GM in supplementary motor area. In most of these areas showing GM increases, GM became significantly higher than in controls. Decreased pain catastrophizing was associated with increased GM in the left dorsolateral prefrontal and ventrolateral prefrontal cortices, right posterior parietal cortex, somatosensory cortex, and pregenual anterior cingulate cortex. Although future studies with additional control groups will be needed to determine the specific roles of CBT on GM and brain function, we propose that increased GM in the prefrontal and posterior parietal cortices reflects greater top-down control over pain and cognitive reappraisal of pain, and that changes in somatosensory cortices reflect alterations in the perception of noxious signals.
An 11-week CBT intervention for coping with chronic pain resulted in increased gray matter volume in prefrontal and somatosensory brain regions, as well as increased dorsolateral prefrontal volume associated with reduced pain catastrophizing. These results add to mounting evidence that CBT can be a valuable treatment option for chronic pain.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · The journal of pain: official journal of the American Pain Society
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sex differences in pain sensitivity have been consistently found, but the basis for these differences is incompletely understood. The present study assessed how pain-related neural processing varies across the menstrual cycle in normally cycling, healthy women, and whether menstrual cycle effects are based on fluctuating sex hormone levels. Fifteen subjects participated in 4 test sessions during their menstrual, midfollicular, ovulatory, and midluteal phases. Brain activity was measured while nonpainful and painful stimuli were applied with a pressure algometer. Serum hormone levels confirmed that scans were performed at appropriate cycle phases in 14 subjects. No significant cycle phase differences were found for pain intensity or unpleasantness ratings of stimuli applied during functional magnetic resonance imaging scans. However, lower pressure pain thresholds were found for follicular compared with other phases. Pain-specific brain activation was found in several regions traditionally associated with pain processing, including the medial thalamus, anterior and middle insula, midcingulate, primary and secondary somatosensory cortices, cerebellum, and frontal regions. The inferior parietal lobule, occipital gyrus, cerebellum, and several frontal regions showed interaction effects between stimulus level and cycle phase, indicating differential processing of pain-related responses across menstrual cycle phases. Correlational analyses indicated that cycle-related changes in pain sensitivity measures and brain activation were only partly explained by varying sex hormone levels. These results show that pain-related cerebral activation varies significantly across the menstrual cycle, even when perceived pain intensity and unpleasantness remain constant. The involved brain regions suggest that cognitive pain or more general bodily awareness systems are most susceptible to menstrual cycle effects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Motor cortex stimulation (MCS) is a potentially effective treatment for chronic neuropathic pain. The neural mechanisms underlying the reduction of hyperalgesia and allodynia after MCS are not completely understood.
To investigate the neural mechanisms responsible for analgesic effects after MCS. We test the hypothesis that MCS attenuates evoked blood oxygen-level dependent signals in cortical areas involved in nociceptive processing in an animal model of chronic neuropathic pain.
We used adult female Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 10) that received unilateral electrolytic lesions of the right spinal cord at the level of C6 (SCL animals). In these animals, we performed magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments to study the analgesic effects of MCS. On the day of fMRI experiment, 14 days after spinal cord lesion, the animals were anesthetized and epidural bipolar platinum electrodes were placed above the left primary motor cortex. Two 10-minute sessions of fMRI were performed before and after a session of MCS (50 μA, 50 Hz, 300 μs, for 30 min.). During each fMRI session, the right hindpaw was electrically stimulated (noxious stimulation: 5 mA, 5 Hz, 3 ms) using a block design of 20 s stimulation off and 20 s stimulation on. A general linear model-based statistical parametric analysis was used to analyze whole brain activation maps. Region of interest (ROI) analysis and paired t-test were used to compare changes in activation before and after MCS in these ROI.
MCS suppressed evoked blood oxygen dependent signals significantly (Family-wise error corrected p < 0.05) and bilaterally in 2 areas heavily implicated in nociceptive processing. These areas consisted of the primary somatosensory cortex and the prefrontal cortex.
These findings suggest that, in animals with SCL, MCS attenuates hypersensitivity by suppressing activity in the primary somatosensory cortex and prefrontal cortex.
No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Brain Stimulation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An important question remains as to how the brain differentially processes first (pricking) pain mediated by Adelta-nociceptors versus second (burning) pain mediated by C-nociceptors. In the present cross-over randomized, within-subjects controlled study, brain activity patterns were examined with event-related fMRI while pricking and burning pain were selectively evoked using a diode laser. Stimuli evoking equivalent pain intensities were delivered to the dorsum of the left foot. Different laser parameters were used to elicit pricking (60ms pulse duration) and burning (2.0s pulse duration) pain. Whole brain group analysis showed that several brain areas were commonly activated by pricking and burning pain, including bilateral thalamus, bilateral anterior insula, bilateral posterior parietal lobule, contralateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, ipsilateral cerebellum, and mid anterior cingulate cortex. These findings show that pricking and burning pain were associated with activity in many of the same nociceptive processing brain regions. This may be expected given that Adelta-and C-nociceptive signals converge to a great extent at the level of the dorsal horn. Other brain regions showed differential processing. Stronger activation in the pricking pain condition was found in the ipsilateral hippocampus, bilateral parahippocampal gyrus, bilateral fusiform gyrus, contralateral cerebellum and contralateral cuneus/parieto-occipital sulcus. Stronger activation in the burning pain condition was found in the ipsilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. These differential activation patterns suggest preferential importance of Adelta-fiber signals versus C-fiber signals for these specific brain regions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to compare cortical nociceptive responses to painful contact heat in healthy young (ages 22-30, n = 7) and older (ages 56-75, n = 7) subjects. Compared to young subjects, older subjects had significantly smaller pain-related fMRI responses in anterior insula (aINS) (P < 0.04), primary somatosensory cortex (S1) (P = 0.03), and supplementary motor area (P = 0.02). Gray matter volumes in S1 and aINS were significantly smaller for the older group (P = 0.02 and 0.0001, respectively), suggesting reduced processing capacity in these regions that might account for smaller pain-related fMRI responses.
No preview · Article · Feb 2007 · Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are limited data addressing the question of sex differences in pain-related cerebral processing. This study examined whether pain-related blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal change measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) demonstrated sex differences, under conditions of equivalent pain perception. Twenty-eight healthy volunteers (17 women, 11 men) were subject to a fMRI scan while noxious heat stimuli were applied to the dorsum of the left foot. Significant BOLD signal modulation was observed in several nociceptive processing regions of interest (ROIs) in all subjects. There were no sex differences in the spatial extent of BOLD signal change for any ROI, but the signal amplitude was lower for women in most ROIs and significantly so for the primary somatosensory cortex (S1), the midanterior cingulate cortex, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). The BOLD signal response could be positive or negative, and frequently, both polarities were observed within a single ROI. In most ROIs, women show proportionately more voxels with negative signal change than men, and this difference was statistically significant for the S1 and the DLPFC. The time course of the negative signal change was very similar to that of the positive signal change, suggesting that the latter was not "driving" the former. The location of negative and positive clusters formed distinct patterns in several of the ROIs, and these patterns suggest something other than a local "steal" phenomenon as an explanation for the negative signal changes. Sex differences in baseline cerebral blood flow may contribute to the BOLD signal differences observed in this study.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cortical responses to painful and nonpainful heat were measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) region of interest analysis (ROI) of primary somatosensory cortex (S1), secondary somatosensory cortex (S2), anterior cingulate (ACC), supplementary motor area (SMA), insula, and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). Previous studies indicated that innocuous and noxious stimuli of different modalities produce responses with different time courses in S1 and S2. The aim of this study was to 1) determine whether temporally distinct nociceptive blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) responses are evoked in multiple somatosensory processing cortical areas and 2) whether these responses discriminate small noxious stimulus intensity differences. Thirty-three subjects underwent fMRI scanning while receiving three intensities of thermal stimuli, ranging from innocuous warm (41 degrees C) to 1 degrees C below tolerance, applied to the dorsum of the left foot. Innocuous and noxious responses were distinguishable in contralateral S1, the mid-ACC, and SMA. The peak of the nociceptive response was temporally delayed from the innocuous response peak by 6-8 s. Responses to noxious but not to innocuous stimuli were observed in contralateral posterior insula. Responses to innocuous and noxious stimuli were not statistically different in contralateral S2. In contralateral S1 only, the nociceptive response could differentiate heat stimuli separated by 1 degrees C. These results show that 1) multiple cortical areas have temporally distinguishable innocuous and noxious responses evoked by a painfully hot thermode, 2) the nociceptive processing properties vary across cortical regions, and 3) nociceptive responses in S1 discriminate between painful temperatures at a level unmatched in other cortical areas.
No preview · Article · May 2005 · Journal of Neurophysiology