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Borsook D.,Pain Group | Borsook D.,Harvard University | Kalso E.,University of Helsinki
European Journal of Pain (United Kingdom)

The field of chronic pain medicine is currently facing enormous challenges. The incidence of chronic pain is increasing worldwide, particularly in the developed world. As a result, chronic pain is imposing a growing burden on Western societies in terms of cost of medical care and lost productivity. This burden is exacerbated by the fact that despite research efforts and a huge expenditure on treatment for chronic pain, clinicians have no highly effective treatments or definitive diagnostic measures for patients. The lack of an objective measure for pain impedes basic research into the biological and psychological mechanisms of chronic pain and clinical research into treatment efficacy. The development of objective measurements of pain and ability to predict treatment responses in the individual patient is critical to improving pain management. Finally, pain medicine must embrace the development of a new evidence-based therapeutic model that recognizes the highly individual nature of responsiveness to pain treatments, integrates bio-psychobehavioural approaches, and requires proof of clinical effectiveness for the various treatments we offer our patients. In the long-term these approaches will contribute to providing better diagnoses and more effective treatments to lessen the current challenges in pain medicine. © 2013 European Federation of International Association for the Study of Pain Chapters. Source

Faria V.,Uppsala University | Appel L.,Uppsala University Hospital | Ahs F.,Duke University | Linnman C.,Pain Group | And 10 more authors.

The amygdala is a key structure in the pathophysiology of anxiety disorders, and a putative target for anxiolytic treatments. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and placebo seem to induce anxiolytic effects by attenuating amygdala responsiveness. However, conflicting amygdala findings have also been reported. Moreover, the neural profile of responders and nonresponders is insufficiently characterized and it remains unknown whether SSRIs and placebo engage common or distinct amygdala subregions or different modulatory cortical areas. We examined similarities and differences in the neural response to SSRIs and placebo in patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Positron emission tomography (PET) with oxygen-15-labeled water was used to assess regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in 72 patients with SAD during an anxiogenic public speaking task, before and after 6-8 weeks of treatment under double-blind conditions. Response rate was determined by the Clinical Global Impression-Improvement scale. Conjunction analysis revealed a common rCBF-attenuation from pre- to post-treatment in responders to SSRIs and placebo in the left basomedial/basolateral and right ventrolateral amygdala. This rCBF pattern correlated with behavioral measures of reduced anxiety and differentiated responders from nonresponders. However, nonanxiolytic treatment effects were also observed in the amygdala. All subgroups, including nonresponders, showed deactivation of the left lateral part of the amygdala. No rCBF differences were found between SSRI responders and placebo responders. This study provides new insights into the brain dynamics underlying anxiety relief by demonstrating common amygdala targets for pharmacologically and psychologically induced anxiety reduction, and by showing that the amygdala is functionally heterogeneous in anxiolysis. © 2012 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. All rights reserved. Source

Linnman C.,Pain Group | Linnman C.,Biomedical Imaging Center | Linnman C.,Massachusetts General Hospital | Beucke J.-C.,Biomedical Imaging Center | And 7 more authors.

This study investigated sex similarities and differences in pain-related functional connectivity in 60 healthy subjects. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and psychophysiological interaction analysis to investigate how exposure to low vs high experimental pain modulates the functional connectivity of the periaqueductal gray (PAG). We found no sex differences in pain thresholds, and in both men and women, the PAG was more functionally connected with the somatosensory cortex, the supplemental motor area, cerebellum, and thalamus during high pain, consistent with anatomic predictions. Twenty-six men displayed a pain-induced increase in PAG functional connectivity with the amygdala caudate and putamen that was not observed in women. In an extensive literature search, we found that female animals have been largely overlooked when the connections between the PAG and the amygdala have been described, and that women are systematically understudied with regard to endogenous pain inhibition. Our results emphasize the importance of including both male and female subjects when studying basic mechanisms of pain processing, and point toward a possible sex difference in endogenous pain inhibition. © 2011 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source

Kosugi M.,Harvard University | Kato G.,Harvard University | Lukashov S.,Harvard University | Pendse G.,Pain Group | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Physiology

The primary goal of this study was to map the transverse distribution of local excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs to mouse lamina I spinal dorsal horn neurons, using laser scanning photostimulation. A sample of lamina II neurons was also studied for comparison. Lamina I neurons received excitatory synaptic input from both laminae I-II and the outer part of III-IV, especially the II/III border region, while the inhibitory input zones were mostly confined within I-II. The excitatory synaptic input zones showed a pronounced medial asymmetry, which was correlated with a matching asymmetry in the dendritic fields of the neurons. Inhibitory input from laminae III-IV was found in a subpopulation of neurons occupying a highly restricted zone, essentially one cell layer thick, immediately below the lamina I/II border, with morphological and physiological properties that were distinct from other laminar populations in the superficial dorsal horn, and that suggest a critical role in interlaminar communication. This subpopulation also received excitatory input from laminae III-IV. Within this subpopulation, inhibitory III-IV input was correlated with the presence of long ventral dendrites. Correlations between the distribution of synaptic input zones and dendritic fields support the concept that interlaminar communication is mediated in part via contacts made onto ventrally extending dendrites of superficial laminae neurons. The results point to the presence of cell type specificity in dorsal horn circuitry, and show how the study of connectivity can itself help identify previously unrecognized neuronal populations. © 2013 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology © 2013 The Physiological Society. Source

Shelton L.,Pain Group | Pendse G.,McLean Hospital | Maleki N.,Pain Group | Moulton E.A.,McLean Hospital | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Neurophysiology

The habenula, located in the posterior thalamus, is implicated in a wide array of functions. Animal anatomical studies have indicated that the structure receives inputs from a number of brain regions (e.g., frontal areas, hypothalamic, basal ganglia) and sends efferent connections predominantly to the brain stem (e.g., periaqueductal gray, raphe, interpedun-cular nucleus). The role of the habenula in pain and its anatomical connectivity are well-documented in animals but not in humans. In this study, for the first time, we show how high-field magnetic resonance imaging can be used to detect habenula activation to noxious heat. Functional maps revealed significant, localized, and bilateral habenula responses. During pain processing, functional connectivity analysis demonstrated significant functional correlations between the habenula and the periaqueductal gray and putamen. Probabilistic tractography was used to assess connectivity of afferent (e.g., putamen) and efferent (e.g., periaqueductal gray) pathways previously reported in animals. We believe that this study is the first report of habenula activation by experimental pain in humans. Since the habenula connects forebrain structures with brain stem structures, we suggest that the findings have important implications for understanding sensory and emotional processing in the brain during both acute and chronic pain. © 2012 the American Physiological Society. Source

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