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Papers of the Week

Papers: 5 Feb 2022 - 11 Feb 2022

2022 Feb 05


Abnormal anatomical and functional connectivity of the thalamo-sensorimotor circuit in chronic low back pain: resting-state fMRI and diffusion tensor imaging study.


Thalamocortical dysfunction is thought to underlie the pathophysiology of chronic pain revealed by electroencephalographic studies. The thalamus serves as a primary relay center to transmit sensory information and motor impulses via dense connections with the somatosensory and motor cortex. In this study, diffusion tensor imaging (probabilistic tractography) and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (functional connectivity) were used to characterize the anatomical and functional integrity of the thalamo-sensorimotor pathway in chronic low back pain (cLBP). Fifty-four patients with cLBP and 54 healthy controls were included. The results suggested significantly increased anatomical connectivity of the left thalamo-motor pathway characterized by probabilistic tractography in patients with cLBP. Moreover, there was significantly increased resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) of bilateral thalamo-motor/somatosensory pathways in patients with cLBP as compared to healthy controls. We also detected a significant positive correlation between pain intensity during the MRI scan and rsFC of the right thalamo-somatosensory pathway in cLBP. Our findings highlight the involvement of the thalamo-sensorimotor circuit in the pathophysiology of cLBP.