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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 May 2023 - 2 Jun 2023

Basic Science

Human Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Neuroimaging

Musculoskeletal Pain, Neuropathic Pain

2023 Apr 20

Neuroimage Clin



Resting state functional connectivity differentiation of neuropathic and nociceptive pain in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury.


Kowalski JL, Morse LR, Troy K, Nguyen N, Battaglino RA, Falci SP, Linnman C


Many individuals with spinal cord injury live with debilitating chronic pain that may be neuropathic, nociceptive, or a combination of both in nature. Identification of brain regions demonstrating altered connectivity associated with the type and severity of pain experience may elucidate underlying mechanisms, as well as treatment targets. Resting state and sensorimotor task-based magnetic resonance imaging data were collected in 37 individuals with chronic spinal cord injury. Seed-based correlations were utilized to identify resting state functional connectivity of regions with established roles in pain processing: the primary motor and somatosensory cortices, cingulate, insula, hippocampus, parahippocampal gyri, thalamus, amygdala, caudate, putamen, and periaqueductal gray matter. Resting state functional connectivity alterations and task-based activation associated with individuals’ pain type and intensity ratings on the International Spinal Cord Injury Basic Pain Dataset (0-10 scale) were evaluated. We found that intralimbic and limbostriatal resting state connectivity alterations are uniquely associated with neuropathic pain severity, whereas thalamocortical and thalamolimbic connectivity alterations are associated specifically with nociceptive pain severity. The joint effect and contrast of both pain types were associated with altered limbocortical connectivity. No significant differences in task-based activation were identified. These findings suggest that the experience of pain in individuals with spinal cord injury may be associated with unique alterations in resting state functional connectivity dependent upon pain type.