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Catecholamine-induced excitation of nociceptors in sympathetically maintained pain
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Clinical Neurophysiology.
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2007 (English)In: Pain, ISSN 0304-3959, E-ISSN 1872-6623, Vol. 127, no 3, 296-301 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sympathetically maintained pain could either be mediated by ephaptic interactions between sympathetic efferent and afferent nociceptive fibers or by catecholamine-induced activation of nociceptive nerve endings. We report here single fiber recordings from C nociceptors in a patient with sympathetically maintained pain, in whom sympathetic blockade had repeatedly eliminated the ongoing pain in both legs. We classified eight C-fibers as mechano-responsive and six as mechano-insensitive nociceptors according to their mechanical responsiveness and activity-dependent slowing of conduction velocity (latency increase of 0.5±1.1 vs. 7.1±2.0ms for 20 pulses at 0.125Hz). Two C-fibers were activated with a delay of several seconds following strong endogenous sympathetic bursts; they were also excited for about 3min following the injection of norepinephrine (10μl, 0.05%) into their innervation territory. In these two fibers, a prolonged activation by injection of low pH solution (phosphate buffer, pH 6.0, 10μl) and sensitization of their heat response following prostaglandin E2 injection were recorded, evidencing their afferent nature. Moreover, their activity-dependent slowing was typical for mechano-insensitive nociceptors. We conclude that sensitized mechano-insensitive nociceptors can be activated by endogenously released catecholamines and thereby may contribute to sympathetically maintained pain. No evidence for ephaptic interaction between sympathetic efferent and nociceptive afferent fibers was found.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 127, no 3, 296-301 p.
Keyword [en]
Nociception, Hyperalgesia, Sensitisation, Cathecholamines, Sympathetically maintained pain
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-14196DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2006.08.022ISI: 000244012100013PubMedID: 16997471OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-14196DiVA: diva2:41966
Available from: 2008-01-29 Created: 2008-01-29 Last updated: 2011-03-02Bibliographically approved

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