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This study addresses one long-standing question of whether functional separations are preserved for somatosensory modalities of touch, heat, and cold nociception within primate primary somatosensory (S1) cortex. This information is critical for understanding how the nature of pain is represented in the primate brain. Using a combination of submillimeter-resolution fMRI and microelectrode local field potential (LFP) and spike recordings, we identified spatially segregated cortical zones for processing touch and nociceptive heat and cold stimuli in somatotopically appropriate areas 3a, 3b, 1, and 2 of S1 in male monkeys. The distances between zones were comparable (∼3.4 mm) across stimulus modalities (heat, cold, and tactile), indicating the existence of uniform, modality-specific modules. Stimulus-evoked LFP maps validated the fMRI maps in areas 3b and 1. Isolation of heat and cold nociceptive neurons from the fMRI zones confirmed the validity of using fMRI to probe nociceptive regions and circuits. Resting-state fMRI analysis revealed distinct intrinsic functional circuits among functionally related zones. We discovered distinct modular structures and networks for thermal nociception within S1 cortex, a finding that has significant implications for studying chronic pain syndromes and guiding the selection of neuromodulation targets for chronic pain management. Primate S1 subregions contain discrete heat and cold nociceptive modules. Modules with the same properties exhibit strong functional connection. Nociceptive fMRI response coincides with LFP and spike activities of nociceptive neurons. Functional separation of heat and cold pain is retained within primate S1 cortex.
Copyright © 2018 the authors 0270-6474/18/381774-14$15.00/0.
OBJECTIVES - Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysregulation is associated with chronic pain. Studying pain sensitivity and the HPA axis could elucidate the role of stress in chronic pain development, which might be influenced by familial factors, including genes.
METHODS - Associations between pain sensitivity and salivary cortisol and familial confounding in these associations were examined in 88 female, community-based twin pairs (75% monozygotic, mean age 29 y). Cortisol was assessed after 0.25 mg dexamethasone (DEX), recovery from 0.25 mg DEX, and after 0.5 mg DEX. Cold pressor task (CPT) pain ratings were obtained at threshold and at tolerance. Conditioned pain modulation (CPM) was examined using thermal heat as the testing stimulus and hot water as the conditioning stimulus. Generalized estimating equation models were used and adjusted for baseline pain rating, age, and other relevant covariates.
RESULTS - After controlling for baseline cortisol, greater cortisol suppression following DEX administration and lower recovery cortisol levels were associated with higher pain ratings at tolerance during the CPT (Bs=-2.42 to -17.82; Ps=0.031 to<0.001) as well as with reduced CPM (Bs=-0.92 to -1.68; Ps=0.003 to 0.046). Interestingly, familial confounding was evident in the CPT and CPM during recovery from DEX administration, but not immediately following DEX administration.
DISCUSSION - These findings contribute to understanding possible mechanisms underlying chronic pain by demonstrating that HPA axis response to negative feedback is related to pain sensitivity.
Activated brown adipose tissue (BAT) plays an important role in thermogenesis and whole body metabolism in mammals. Positron emission tomography (PET)-computed tomography (CT) imaging has identified depots of BAT in adult humans, igniting scientific interest. The purpose of this study is to characterize both active and inactive supraclavicular BAT in adults and compare the values to those of subcutaneous white adipose tissue (WAT). We obtained [(18)F]fluorodeoxyglucose ([(18)F]FDG) PET-CT and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of 25 healthy adults. Unlike [(18)F]FDG PET, which can detect only active BAT, MRI is capable of detecting both active and inactive BAT. The MRI-derived fat signal fraction (FSF) of active BAT was significantly lower than that of inactive BAT (means ± SD; 60.2 ± 7.6 vs. 62.4 ± 6.8%, respectively). This change in tissue morphology was also reflected as a significant increase in Hounsfield units (HU; -69.4 ± 11.5 vs. -74.5 ± 9.7 HU, respectively). Additionally, the CT HU, MRI FSF, and MRI R2* values are significantly different between BAT and WAT, regardless of the activation status of BAT. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to quantify PET-CT and MRI FSF measurements and utilize a semiautomated algorithm to identify inactive and active BAT in the same adult subjects. Our findings support the use of these metrics to characterize and distinguish between BAT and WAT and lay the foundation for future MRI analysis with the hope that some day MRI-based delineation of BAT can stand on its own.
Unfixed tissue specimens most frequently are stored for long term research uses at either -80° C or in vapor phase liquid nitrogen (VPLN). There is little information concerning the effects such long term storage on tissue RNA or protein available for extraction. Aliquots of 49 specimens were stored for 5-12 years at -80° C or in VPLN. Twelve additional paired specimens were stored for 1 year under identical conditions. RNA was isolated from all tissues and assessed for RNA yield, total RNA integrity and mRNA integrity. Protein stability was analyzed by surface-enhanced or matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF-MS, MALDI-TOF-MS) and nano-liquid chromatography electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (nLC-ESI-MS/MS). RNA yield and total RNA integrity showed significantly better results for -80° C storage compared to VPLN storage; the transcripts that were preferentially degraded during VPLN storage were these involved in antigen presentation and processing. No consistent differences were found in the SELDI-TOF-MS, MALDI-TOF-MS or nLC-ESI-MS/MS analyses of specimens stored for more than 8 years at -80° C compared to those stored in VPLN. Long term storage of human research tissues at -80° C provides at least the same quality of RNA and protein as storage in VPLN.
We tested whether cardiovascular stress responsiveness is elevated in individuals experiencing chronic pain in a large general population sample. Blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were assessed at rest, during the cold pressor test, and during subsequent recovery in 554 individuals reporting daily chronic pain and 3,082 individuals free of chronic pain. After correcting for potential confounds, differences as a function of chronic pain status were noted for only 5 of 23 cardiovascular outcomes despite very high statistical power. Compared to the pain-free group, the chronic pain group displayed higher baseline HR/mean arterial pressure (MAP) ratio (p = .03), greater systolic BP (SBP) reactivity during the cold pressor test (p = .04), and higher HR/MAP ratio (p = .047) and significantly less SBP (p = .017) and MAP (p = .041) return to baseline during recovery. Findings suggest that changes in cardiovascular stress responsiveness associated with chronic pain are of limited clinical significance and unlikely to contribute to increased cardiovascular risk in the chronic pain population.
BACKGROUND - There is a dearth of knowledge about the link between cortisol and pain sensitivity.
PURPOSE - We examined the association of salivary cortisol with indices of cold pain sensitivity in 198 female twins and explored the role of familial confounding.
METHODS - Three-day saliva samples were collected for cortisol levels and a cold pressor test was used to collect pain ratings and time to threshold and tolerance. Linear regression modeling with generalized estimating equations examined the overall and within-pair associations.
RESULTS - Lower diurnal variation of cortisol was associated with higher pain ratings at threshold (p = 0.02) and tolerance (p < 0.01). The relationship of diurnal variation with pain ratings at threshold and tolerance was minimally influenced by familial factors (i.e., genetics and common environment).
CONCLUSIONS - Understanding the genetic and non-genetic mechanisms underlying the link between HPA axis dysregulation and pain sensitivity may help to prevent chronic pain development and maintenance.
A hybrid ion mobility-mass spectrometer (IM-MS) incorporating a variable-temperature (80-400 K) drift tube is presented. The instrument utilizes an electron ionization (EI) source for fundamental small molecule studies. Ions are transferred to the IM-MS analyzer stages through a quadrupole, which can operate in either broad transmission or mass-selective mode. Ion beam modulation for the ion mobility experiment is accomplished by an electronic shutter gate. The variable-temperature ion mobility spectrometer consists of a 30.2 cm uniform field drift tube enclosed within a thermal envelope. Subambient temperatures down to 80 K are achievable through cryogenic cooling with liquid nitrogen, while elevated temperatures can be accessed through resistive heating of the envelope. Mobility separated ions are mass analyzed by an orthogonal time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer. This report describes the technological considerations for operating the instrument at variable temperature, and preliminary results are presented for IM-MS analysis of several small mass ions. Specifically, mobility separations of benzene fragment ions generated by EI are used to illustrate significantly improved (greater than 50%) ion mobility resolution at low temperatures resulting from decreased diffusional broadening. Preliminary results on the separation of long-lived electronic states of Ti(+) formed by EI of TiCl(4) and hydration reactions of Ti(+) with residual water are presented.
The biotin-tagged electrophiles 1-biotinamido-4-(4'-[maleimidoethylcyclohexane]-carboxamido)butane (BMCC) and N-iodoacetyl-N-biotinylhexylenediamine (IAB) have been used as model electrophile probes in complex proteomes to identify protein targets associated with chemical toxicity. Whereas IAB activates stress signaling and apoptosis in HEK293 cells, BMCC does not. Cysteine Michael adducts formed from BMCC and nonbiotinylated analogues rapidly disappeared in the intact cells, whereas the adducts were stable in BMCC-treated subcellular fractions, even in the presence of the cellular reductants reduced glutathione, NADH, and NADPH. In contrast, cysteine thioether adducts formed from IAB and its nonbiotinylated analogues were stable in intact cells. Loss of the BMCC adduct in cells was reduced at 4 degrees C, which suggests the involvement of a metabolic process in adduct removal. Model studies with a glutathione-BMCC conjugate indicated rapid hydrolysis of the adducted imide ring, but neither the conjugate nor its hydrolysis product dissociated to release the electrophile in neutral aqueous buffer at significant rates. The results suggest that low BMCC toxicity reflects facile repair that results in transient adduction, which fails to trigger damage-signaling pathways.
BACKGROUND - The mechanisms underlying interindividual variability in pain perception and cognitive responses are undefined but highly heritable. alpha(2C)- and alpha(2A)-adrenergic receptors regulate noradrenergic activity and are important mediators of pain perception and analgesia. We hypothesized that common genetic variants in these genes, particularly the ADRA2C 322-325 deletion variant, affect pain perception or cognitive responses.
METHODS - We studied 73 healthy subjects (37 Caucasians and 36 African-Americans) aged 25.4+/-4.6years. Pain response to a cold pressor test was measured using a 10cm visual analog scale and again on the next day, after three infusions of the selective alpha(2)-agonist dexmedetomidine. Standardized cognitive tests were administered at baseline and after each infusion. The contribution of ADRA2C deletion genotype, dexmedetomidine concentration, and other covariates to pain perception and cognitive responses was determined using multiple linear regression models. Secondary analysis examined the effects of ADRA2A and other ADRA2C variants on pain perception.
RESULTS - ADRA2C Del homozygotes had higher pain scores in response to cold at baseline (6.3+/-1.8cm) and after dexmedetomidine (5.6+/-2.2cm) than insertion allele carriers (4.6+/-2.1cm [baseline] and 3.8+/-1.9cm [after dexmedetomidine]; adjusted P-values=0.019 and 0.004, respectively). Cognitive responses were unrelated to ADRA2C Ins/Del genotype. None of the other ADRA2A and ADRA2C variants was significantly related to cold pain sensitivity before dexmedetomidine; after dexmedetomidine, ADRA2A rs1800038 was marginally associated (P=0.03).
CONCLUSION - The common ADRA2C del322-325 variant affected pain perception before and after dexmedetomidine but did not affect other cognitive responses, suggesting that it contributes to interindividual variability in pain perception.