The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-018-4085-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Increasing evidence supports the role of central sensitisation in osteoarthritis (OA) pain. In this study, we used neuroimaging to compare pain-processing regions of the brain in participants with and without hand OA. We then assessed for volumetric changes in these brain regions following treatment with centrally acting analgesics.
Participants with hand OA (n = 28) underwent T1-weighted MRI of the brain before and after 12 weeks of treatment with pregabalin, duloxetine or placebo. Grey matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), insular cortex and thalamus was compared to non-OA control subjects (n = 11) using FreeSurfer regional volumetric analysis and voxel-based morphometry, and evaluated for differences pre- and post-treatment.
Relative to non-OA controls, hand OA participants had areas of reduced grey matter volume in the ACC at baseline (p = 0.007). Regional volumetric differences in the ACC persisted after 13 weeks’ treatment with pregabalin or duloxetine (p = 0.004) with no significant differences between treatment cohorts, despite improvements in NRS pain scores for pregabalin (p = 0.005) and duloxetine (p = 0.050). The ACC grey matter changes persisted despite a significant improvement in pain in the pregabalin and duloxetine groups vs. placebo. No structural differences were observed in the insular cortex or thalamus at baseline or following treatment.
Our study found evidence of reduced ACC grey matter volume in participants with hand arthritis that persisted after treatment with centrally acting analgesics pregabalin and duloxetine, respectively. The sustained changes observed in the ACC in our study could reflect the relatively short duration of treatment, or that the differences observed are irreversible volume changes due to chronic pain that are established over time.
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- Reduced anterior cingulate grey matter volume in painful hand osteoarthritis
Mark D. Russell
Thomas R. Barrick
Franklyn A. Howe
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg
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