A role for the brainstem in central sensitisation in humans. Evidence from functional magnetic resonance imaging

L Zambreanu, R G Wise, J C W Brooks, G D Iannetti, I Tracey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

242 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Animal studies have established a role for the brainstem reticular formation, in particular the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM), in the development and maintenance of central sensitisation and its clinical manifestation, secondary hyperalgesia. Similar evidence in humans is lacking, as neuroimaging studies have mainly focused on cortical changes. To fully characterise the supraspinal contributions to central sensitisation in humans, we used whole-brain functional magnetic resonance imaging at 3T, to record brain responses to punctate mechanical stimulation in an area of secondary hyperalgesia. We used the heat/capsaicin sensitisation model to induce secondary hyperalgesia on the right lower leg in 12 healthy volunteers. A paired t-test was used to compare activation maps obtained during punctate stimulation of the secondary hyperalgesia area and those recorded during control punctate stimulation (same body site, untreated skin, separate session). The following areas showed significantly increased activation (Z>2.3, corrected P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-407
Number of pages11
JournalPAIN
Volume114
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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