Publications by Year: 2015


Altered resting-state (RS) brain activity, as a measure of functional connectivity (FC), is commonly observed in chronic pain. Identifying a reliable signature pattern of altered RS activity for chronic pain could provide strong mechanistic insights and serve as a highly beneficial neuroimaging-based diagnostic tool. We collected and analyzed RS functional magnetic resonance imaging data from female patients with urologic chronic pelvic pain syndrome (N = 45) and matched healthy participants (N = 45) as part of an NIDDK-funded multicenter project ( Using dual regression and seed-based analyses, we observed significantly decreased FC of the default mode network to 2 regions in the posterior medial cortex (PMC): the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and the left precuneus (threshold-free cluster enhancement, family-wise error corrected P \textless 0.05). Further investigation revealed that patients demonstrated increased FC between the PCC and several brain regions implicated in pain, sensory, motor, and emotion regulation processes (eg, insular cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, thalamus, globus pallidus, putamen, amygdala, hippocampus). The left precuneus demonstrated decreased FC to several regions of pain processing, reward, and higher executive functioning within the prefrontal (orbitofrontal, anterior cingulate, ventromedial prefrontal) and parietal cortices (angular gyrus, superior and inferior parietal lobules). The altered PMC connectivity was associated with several phenotype measures, including pain and urologic symptom intensity, depression, anxiety, quality of relationships, and self-esteem levels in patients. Collectively, these findings indicate that in patients with urologic chronic pelvic pain syndrome, regions of the PMC are detached from the default mode network, whereas neurological processes of self-referential thought and introspection may be joined to pain and emotion regulatory processes.
Individuals with chronic pain show greater vulnerability to depression or anger than those without chronic pain, and also show greater interpersonal difficulties and physical disability. The present study examined data from 675 individuals with chronic pain during their initial visits to a tertiary care pain clinic using assessments from Stanford University s Collaborative Health Outcomes Information Registry (CHOIR). Using a path modeling analysis, the mediating roles of Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information Systems (PROMIS) Physical Function and PROMIS Satisfaction with Social Roles and Activities were tested between pain intensity and PROMIS Depression and Anger. Pain intensity significantly predicted both depression and anger, and both physical function and satisfaction with social roles mediated these relationships when modeled in separate 1-mediator models. Notably, however, when modeled together, ratings of satisfaction with social roles mediated the relationship between physical function and both anger and depression. Our results suggest that the process by which chronic pain disrupts emotional well-being involves both physical function and disrupted social functioning. However, the more salient factor in determining pain-related emotional distress seems to be disruption of social relationships, than global physical impairment. These results highlight the particular importance of social factors to pain-related distress, and highlight social functioning as an important target for clinical intervention in chronic pain.
Studies have suggested chronic pain syndromes are associated with neural reorganization in specific regions associated with perception, processing, and integration of pain. Urological chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS) represents a collection of pain syndromes characterized by pelvic pain, namely Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CP/CPPS) and Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome (IC/PBS), that are both poorly understood in their pathophysiology, and treated ineffectively. We hypothesized patients with UCPPS may have microstructural differences in the brain compared with healthy control subjects (HCs), as well as patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common gastrointestinal pain disorder. In the current study we performed population-based voxel-wise DTI and super-resolution track density imaging (TDI) in a large, two-center sample of phenotyped patients from the multicenter cohort with UCPPS (N = 45), IBS (N = 39), and HCs (N = 56) as part of the MAPP Research Network. Compared with HCs, UCPPS patients had lower fractional anisotropy (FA), lower generalized anisotropy (GA), lower track density, and higher mean diffusivity (MD) in brain regions commonly associated with perception and integration of pain information. Results also showed significant differences in specific anatomical regions in UCPPS patients when compared with IBS patients, consistent with microstructural alterations specific to UCPPS. While IBS patients showed clear sex related differences in FA, MD, GA, and track density consistent with previous reports, few such differences were observed in UCPPS patients. Heat maps illustrating the correlation between specific regions of interest and various pain and urinary symptom scores showed clustering of significant associations along the cortico-basal ganglia-thalamic-cortical loop associated with pain integration, modulation, and perception. Together, results suggest patients with UCPPS have extensive microstructural differences within the brain, many specific to syndrome UCPPS versus IBS, that appear to be localized to regions associated with perception and integration of sensory information and pain modulation, and seem to be a consequence of longstanding pain.
Carroll IR, Hah JM, Barelka PL, et al. Pain Duration and Resolution following Surgery: An Inception Cohort Study. Pain Med. 2015;16(12):2386-2396.
OBJECTIVE: Preoperative determinants of pain duration following surgery are poorly understood. We identified preoperative predictors of prolonged pain after surgery in a mixed surgical cohort. METHODS: We conducted a prospective longitudinal study of patients undergoing mastectomy, lumpectomy, thoracotomy, total knee replacement, or total hip replacement. We measured preoperative psychological distress and substance use, and then measured pain and opioid use after surgery until patients reported the cessation of both opioid consumption and pain. The primary endpoint was time to opioid cessation, and those results have been previously reported. Here, we report preoperative determinants of time to pain resolution following surgery in Cox proportional hazards regression. RESULTS: Between January 2007 and April 2009, we enrolled 107 of 134 consecutively approached patients undergoing the aforementioned surgical procedures. In the final multivariate model, preoperative self-perceived risk of addiction predicted more prolonged pain. Unexpectedly, anxiety sensitivity predicted more rapid pain resolution after surgery. Each one-point increase (on a four point scale) of self-perceived risk of addiction was associated with a 38% (95% CI 3-61) reduction in the rate of pain resolution (P = 0.04). Furthermore, higher anxiety sensitivity was associated with an 89% (95% CI 23-190) increased rate of pain resolution (P = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS: Greater preoperative self-perceived risk of addiction, and lower anxiety sensitivity predicted a slower rate of pain resolution following surgery. Each of these factors was a better predictor of pain duration than preoperative depressive symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, past substance use, fear of pain, gender, age, preoperative pain, or preoperative opioid use.
Hah JM, Sharifzadeh Y, Wang BM, et al. Factors Associated with Opioid Use in a Cohort of Patients Presenting for Surgery. Pain Res. Treat. 2015;2015:829696.
Objectives. Patients taking opioids prior to surgery experience prolonged postoperative opioid use, worse clinical outcomes, increased pain, and more postoperative complications. We aimed to compare preoperative opioid users to their opioid naïve counterparts to identify differences in baseline characteristics. Methods. 107 patients presenting for thoracotomy, total knee replacement, total hip replacement, radical mastectomy, and lumpectomy were investigated in a cross-sectional study to characterize the associations between measures of pain, substance use, abuse, addiction, sleep, and psychological measures (depressive symptoms, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder symptoms, somatic fear and anxiety, and fear of pain) with opioid use. Results. Every 9-point increase in the Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain-Revised (SOAPP-R) score was associated with 2.37 (95% CI 1.29-4.32) increased odds of preoperative opioid use (p = 0.0005). The SOAPP-R score was also associated with 3.02 (95% CI 1.36-6.70) increased odds of illicit preoperative opioid use (p = 0.007). Also, every 4-point increase in baseline pain at the future surgical site was associated with 2.85 (95% CI 1.12-7.27) increased odds of legitimate preoperative opioid use (p = 0.03). Discussion. Patients presenting with preoperative opioid use have higher SOAPP-R scores potentially indicating an increased risk for opioid misuse after surgery. In addition, legitimate preoperative opioid use is associated with preexisting pain.
Haddon DJ, Jarrell JA, Diep VK, et al. Mapping epitopes of U1-70K autoantibodies at single-amino acid resolution. Autoimmunity. 2015;48(8):513-523.
The mechanisms underlying development of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) autoantibodies are unclear. The U1-70K protein is the predominant target of RNP autoantibodies, and the RNA binding domain has been shown to be the immunodominant autoantigenic region of U1-70K, although the specific epitopes are not known. To precisely map U1-70K epitopes, we developed silicon-based peptide microarrays with \textgreater5700 features, corresponding to 843 unique peptides derived from the U1-70K protein. The microarrays feature overlapping peptides, with single-amino acid resolution in length and location, spanning amino acids 110-170 within the U1-70K RNA binding domain. We evaluated the serum IgG of a cohort of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE; n = 26) using the microarrays, and identified multiple reactive epitopes, including peptides 116-121 and 143-148. Indirect peptide ELISA analysis of the sera of patients with SLE (n = 88) revealed that ∼14% of patients had serum IgG reactivity to 116-121, while reactivity to 143-148 appeared to be limited to a single patient. SLE patients with serum reactivity to 116-121 had significantly lower SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) scores at the time of sampling, compared to non-reactive patients. Minimal reactivity to the peptides was observed in the sera of healthy controls (n = 92). Competitive ELISA showed antibodies to 116-121 bind a common epitope in U1-70K (68-72) and the matrix protein M1 of human influenza B viruses. Institutional Review Boards approved this study. Knowledge of the precise epitopes of U1-70K autoantibodies may provide insight into the mechanisms of development of anti-RNP, identify potential clinical biomarkers and inform ongoing clinical trails of peptide-based therapeutics.
Kay AW, Bayless NL, Fukuyama J, et al. Pregnancy Does Not Attenuate the Antibody or Plasmablast Response to Inactivated Influenza Vaccine. J. Infect. Dis. 2015;212(6):861-870.
BACKGROUND: Inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) is recommended during pregnancy to prevent influenza infection and its complications in pregnant women and their infants. However, the extent to which pregnancy modifies the antibody response to vaccination remains unclear, and prior studies have focused primarily on hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) titers. A more comprehensive understanding of how pregnancy modifies the humoral immune response to influenza vaccination will aid in maximizing vaccine efficacy. METHODS: Healthy pregnant women and control women were studied prior to, 7 days after, and 28 days after vaccination with IIV. HI titers, microneutralization (MN) titers, and the frequency of circulating plasmablasts were evaluated in pregnant versus control women. RESULTS: Pregnant women and control women mount similarly robust serologic immune responses to IIV, with no significant differences for any influenza strain in postvaccination geometric mean HI or MN titers. HI and MN titers correlate, though MN titers demonstrate more robust changes pre- versus postvaccination. The induction of circulating plasmablasts is increased in pregnant women versus controls (median fold-change 2.60 vs 1.49 [interquartile range, 0.94-7.53 vs 0.63-2.67]; P = .03). CONCLUSIONS: Pregnant women do not have impaired humoral immune responses to IIV and may have increased circulating plasmablast production compared to control women.
Mittra E, Marx E, Biswal S, Mackey S. Utility of FDG PET/CT in patients with Myofascial Pain Syndrome. J. Nucl. Med. 2015;56(supplement 3):1694-1694.
1694Objectives The mechanism of uptake of 18F-FDG suggests a role in the evaluation of pain. Areas of FDG uptake in muscle are often seen in oncology PET scans but of unknown etiology. To understand this better, we examined a group of patients with significant focal muscle pain with FDG PET/CT.Methods Patients with a diagnosis of Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) and active trigger points were prospectively recruited from the Stanford University Pain Management Center and scanned with a whole-body 18F-FDG PET/CT. Patients with a history of cancer, recent surgery, or recent trigger point injections were excluded. Medications that may decrease FDG uptake were temporarily stopped. The location of the patients pain were identified by a physician, as well as the by the patient, and recorded on a standard whole-body diagram. The PET/CT scans were reviewed without knowledge of the location of the patient s pain, then correlated.Results Eight subjects included 5 women and 3 men, with an average age of 49 years. The average pain score was 7.5/10. The sites of pain primarily included the neck and back. The physician and patient reported sites of pain agreed in all cases. Only 1 out of the 8 patients studied had any abnormal 18F-FDG uptake seen on their PET/CT scan; all other scans were negative, both qualitatively and qualitatively. That one patient (see figure) had abnormal focal FDG uptake in the right T9/10 intervertebral space, which correlated with the radicular distribution of his pain along the right mid-back. Ultimately, an osteid osteoma was removed from this site with subsequent pain resolution.Conclusions Our hypothesis that FDG would show focal areas of muscle activity in patients with MPS was not borne out. These results suggest that increased glucose utilization is either not associated with muscle pain, or the degree of uptake is below the sensitivity for PET. As such, this study does not support the use of FDG PET for MPS. Other types of painful conditions may have different findings and should be studied.
Sturgeon JA, Tieu MM, Jastrzab LE, McCue R, Gandhi V, Mackey SC. Nonlinear Effects of Noxious Thermal Stimulation and Working Memory Demands on Subjective Pain Perception. Pain Med. 2015;16(7):1301-1310.
OBJECTIVE: A bidirectional relationship between working memory (WM) and acute pain has long been assumed, but equivocal evidence exists regarding this relationship. This study characterized the relationship between WM and acute pain processing in healthy individuals using an adapted Sternberg WM task. DESIGN: Participants completed a Sternberg task while receiving noxious thermal stimulation. Participants received a pseudorandom presentation of four different temperatures (baseline temperatures and individually determined low-, medium-, and high-temperature stimuli) and four levels of Sternberg task difficulty (0-, 3-, 6-, and 9-letter strings). SUBJECTS: Twenty-eight healthy participants were recruited from Stanford University and the surrounding community to complete this study. RESULTS: A nonlinear interaction between intensity of thermal stimulation and difficulty of the Sternberg task was noted. Increased cognitive load from the Sternberg task resulted in increased perception of pain in low-intensity thermal stimulation but suppressed pain perception in high-intensity thermal stimulation. Thermal stimulation had no significant effect on participants response time or accuracy on the Sternberg task regardless of intensity level. CONCLUSIONS: Pain perception appears to decrease as a function of WM load only for sufficiently noxious stimuli. However, increasing noxious stimuli did not affect cognitive performance. These complex relationships may reflect a shared cognitive space that can become “overloaded” with input of multiple stimuli of sufficient intensity.