Cerebral cortical thickness in chronic pain due to knee osteoarthritis: the effect of pain duration and pain densitization

Alshuft, Hamza and Condon, Laura and Dineen, Robert A. and Auer, Dorothee P. (2016) Cerebral cortical thickness in chronic pain due to knee osteoarthritis: the effect of pain duration and pain densitization. PLoS ONE, 11 (9). e0161687. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Objective

This study investigates associations between cortical thickness and pain duration, and central sensitization as markers of pain progression in painful knee osteoarthritis.

Methods

Whole brain cortical thickness and pressure pain thresholds were assessed in 70 participants; 40 patients with chronic painful knee osteoarthritis (age = 66.1± 8.5 years, 21 females, mean duration of pain = 8.5 years), and 30 healthy controls (age = 62.7± 7.4, 17 females).

Results

Cortical thickness negatively correlated with pain duration mainly in fronto-temporal areas outside of classical pain processing areas (p<0.05, age-controlled, FDR corrected). Pain sensitivity was unrelated to cortical thickness. Patients showed lower cortical thickness in the right anterior insula (p<0.001, uncorrected) with no changes surviving multiple test correction.

Conclusion

With increasing number of years of suffering from chronic arthritis pain we found increasing cortical thinning in extended cerebral cortical regions beyond recognised pain-processing areas. While the mechanisms of cortical thinning remain to be elucidated, we show that pain progression indexed by central sensitization does not play a major role.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Pain sensation; knees; central nervous system; morphometry; osteoarthritis; prefrontal cortex; knee joints; brain morphometry
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing
University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Clinical Neuroscience
Identification Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161687
Depositing User: Blay, James
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2016 11:45
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2017 21:37
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/37673

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