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Papers of the Week

Papers: 29 May 2021 - 4 Jun 2021

Human Studies

2021 May 09

J Clin Med



The Short-Term Kinetics of sICAM-1 after Induction of Acute Experimental Pain in Healthy Volunteers.



Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) mediates extravasation of leukocytes, releasing proinflammatory cytokines or endogenous opioids in the inflamed tissue. Thus, ICAM-1 is a crucial component of peripheral antinociception. Previously, we demonstrated a significant correlation between the soluble form of ICAM (sICAM-1) in serum and pain intensity reported by chronic pain patients. The present study examines the role and kinetics of sICAM-1 in experimentally induced acute pain. Three groups of 10 subjects were exposed to 10 min of high (capsaicin-enhanced) or low-intensity heat pain or cold pain, respectively. Thermal stimuli were induced using a device for quantitative sensory testing. Topical capsaicin significantly increased heat pain intensity without the risk of thermal tissue damage. Pain intensity was recorded every minute during testing. sICAM-1 concentrations in serum were determined by ELISA before, immediately after, and 60 min after test termination. Among all experimental groups, sICAM-1 significantly decreased immediately after pain induction. After 60 min, sICAM-1 concentrations returned towards initial values. Interestingly, a linear correlation was found between the extent of sICAM-1 changes and the initial concentrations. Whereas high initial values led to a distinct decrease of sICAM-1, low concentrations tended to increase. There was no statistically significant correlation between levels or alterations of serum sICAM-1 and pain intensity reported by the test subjects. In contrast to our previous findings in chronic pain patients, the present results show that sICAM-1 values do not correlate with the intensity of acute experimental pain. However, we were able to detect short-term changes of sICAM-1 after induction of nociceptive thermal stimuli, suggesting that this marker is part of a demand-oriented homeostatically controlled system.