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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Nov 2019 - 8 Nov 2019

Human Studies

2020 Mar




Implications of the putamen in pain and motor deficits in complex regional pain syndrome.


Azqueta-Gavaldon M, Youssef AM, Storz C, Lemme J, Schulte-Göcking H, Becerra L, Azad SC, Reiners A, Ertl-Wagner B, Borsook D, Upadhyay J, Kraft E
Pain. 2020 Mar; 161(3):595-608.
PMID: 31693538.


Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) develops after limb injury, with persistent pain and deficits in movement frequently co-occurring. The striatum is critical for mediating multiple mechanisms that are often aberrant in CRPS, which includes sensory and pain processing, motor function and goal-directed behaviors associated with movement. Yet much remains unknown with regards to the morphological and functional properties of the striatum and its sub-regions in this disease. Thus, we investigated 20, patients (15 female, age 58 ± 9 years, right-handed) diagnosed with chronic (6+ months of pain duration) CRPS in the right hand and 20 matched, healthy controls with anatomical and resting-state, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In addition, a comprehensive clinical and behavioral evaluation was performed, where each participant's pain, motor function and medical history were assessed. CRPS patients harbored significant abnormalities in hand coordination, dexterity and strength. These clinical pain and movement-related findings in CRPS patients were concomitant with bilateral decreases in gray matter density in the putamen as well as functional connectivity increases and decreases amongst the putamen and pre-/postcentral gyri and cerebellum, respectively. Importantly, higher levels of clinical pain and motor impairment were associated with increased putamen-pre-/postcentral gyri functional connectivity strengths. Collectively, these findings suggest that putaminal alterations, specifically the functional interactions with sensorimotor structures, may underpin clinical pain and motor impairment in chronic CRPS patients.