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Papers of the Week

Papers: 29 Oct 2022 - 4 Nov 2022


Front Pain Res (Lausanne)


Distal neuropathic pain in HIV is associated with functional connectivity patterns in default mode and salience networks.


Hays Weeks CC, Simmons AN, Strigo IA, Timtim S, Ellis RJ, Keltner JR
Front Pain Res (Lausanne). 2022; 3:1004060.
PMID: 36313219.


HIV-associated distal neuropathic pain (DNP) is one of the most prevalent, disabling, and treatment-resistant complications of HIV, but its biological underpinnings are incompletely understood. While data specific to mechanisms underlying HIV DNP are scarce, functional neuroimaging of chronic pain more broadly implicates the role of altered resting-state functional connectivity within and between salience network (SN) and default mode network (DMN) regions. However, it remains unclear the extent to which HIV DNP is associated with similar alterations in connectivity. The current study aimed to bridge this gap in the literature through examination of resting-state functional connectivity patterns within SN and DMN regions among people with HIV (PWH) with and without DNP. Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) scans were completed among 62 PWH with HIV-associated peripheral neuropathy, of whom 27 reported current DNP and 35 did not. Using subgrouping group iterative multiple estimation, we compared connectivity patterns in those with current DNP to those without. We observed weaker connectivity between the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and stronger connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and thalamus among those reporting DNP. Overall, these findings implicate altered within DMN (i.e., MPFC-PCC) and within SN (i.e., ACC-thalamus) connectivity as potential manifestations of adaptation to pain from neuropathy and/or mechanisms underlying the development/maintenance of DNP. Findings are discussed in the context of differential brain response to pain (i.e., mind wandering, pain aversion, pain facilitation/inhibition) and therapeutic implications.