Central Sensitization of Mechanical Nociceptive Pathways Is Associated with a Long-Lasting Increase of Pinprick-Evoked Brain Potentials

Emanuel N van den Broeke, Julien Lambert, Gan Huang, André Mouraux
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 2016, 10: 531
Intense or sustained nociceptor activation, occurring, for example, after skin injury, can induce "central sensitization," i.e., an increased responsiveness of nociceptive neurons in the central nervous system. A hallmark of central sensitization is increased mechanical pinprick sensitivity in the area surrounding the injured skin. The aim of the present study was to identify changes in brain activity related to this increased pinprick sensitivity. In 20 healthy volunteers, increased pinprick sensitivity was induced using high frequency electrical stimulation of the forearm skin (HFS). Mechanical pinprick stimulation (64 and 90 mN) was used to elicit event-related brain potentials (ERPs). The recordings were performed before, 20 min after and 45 min after applying HFS. The contralateral non-sensitized arm served as control. Pinprick stimulation of 64 mN, but not 90 mN, applied in the area of increased pinprick sensitivity elicited a significant increase of a late-latency positive wave, between 300 and 1100 ms after stimulus onset and was maximal at midline posterior electrodes. Most importantly, this increase in EEG activity followed the time course of the increase in pinprick perception, both being present 20 and 45 min after applying HFS. Our results show that the central sensitization of mechanical nociceptive pathways, manifested behaviorally as increased pinprick sensitivity, is associated with a long-lasting increase in pinprick-evoked brain potentials provided that a 64 mN stimulation intensity is used.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"