DOI: 10.1002/nbm.5088 ISSN: 0952-3480

7 T characterization of excitatory and inhibitory systems of acute pain in healthy female participants

Steven J. Nichols, Julio A. Yanes, Meredith A. Reid, Jennifer L. Robinson
  • Spectroscopy
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Molecular Medicine


Current understanding of the physiological underpinnings of normative pain processing is incomplete. Enhanced knowledge of these systems is necessary to advance our understanding of pain processes as well as to develop effective therapeutic interventions. Previous neuroimaging research suggests a network of interrelated brain regions that seem to be implicated in the processing and experience of pain. Among these, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) plays an important role in the affective aspects of pain signals. The current study leveraged functional MRS to investigate the underlying dynamic shifts in the neurometabolic signature of the human dACC at rest and during acute pain. Results provide support for increased glutamate levels following acute pain administration. Specifically, a 4.6% increase in glutamate was observed during moderate pressure pain compared with baseline. Exploratory analysis also revealed meaningful changes in dACC gamma aminobutyric acid in response to pain stimulation. These data contribute toward the characterization of neurometabolic shifts, which lend insight into the role of the dACC in the pain network. Further research in this area with larger sample sizes could contribute to the development of novel therapeutics or other advances in pain‐related outcomes.

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