Peripheral arterial stiffness during electrocutaneous stimulation is positively correlated with pain-related brain activity and subjective pain intensity: an fMRI study

Toshio Tsuji, Fumiya Arikuni, Takafumi Sasaoka, Shin Suyama, Takashi Akiyoshi, Zu Soh, Harutoyo Hirano, Ryuji Nakamura, Noboru Saeki, Masashi Kawamoto, Masao Yoshizumi, Atsuo Yoshino, Shigeto Yamawaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Brain activity associated with pain perception has been revealed by numerous PET and fMRI studies over the past few decades. These findings helped to establish the concept of the pain matrix, which is the distributed brain networks that demonstrate pain-specific cortical activities. We previously found that peripheral arterial stiffness βart responds to pain intensity, which is estimated from electrocardiography, continuous sphygmomanometer, and photo-plethysmography. However, it remains unclear whether and to what extent βart aligns with pain matrix brain activity. In this fMRI study, 22 participants received different intensities of pain stimuli. We identified brain regions in which the blood oxygen level-dependent signal covaried with βart using parametric modulation analysis. Among the identified brain regions, the lateral and medial prefrontal cortex and ventral and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex were consistent with the pain matrix. We found moderate correlations between the average activities in these regions and βart (r = 0.47, p < 0.001). βart was also significantly correlated with self-reported pain intensity (r = 0.44, p < 0.001) and applied pain intensity (r = 0.43, p < 0.001). Our results indicate that βart is positively correlated with pain-related brain activity and subjective pain intensity. This study may thus represent a basis for adopting peripheral arterial stiffness as an objective pain evaluation metric.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4425
JournalScientific reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12-2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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