Int J Inflam 2016 (-) 3874964 [2016-05-11; online 2016-05-11]
Earlier studies suggest that lumbar radicular pain following disc herniation may be associated with a local or systemic inflammatory process. In the present study, we investigated the serum inflammatory protein profile of such patients. All 45 patients were recruited from Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål, Norway, during the period 2007-2009. The new multiplex proximity extension assay (PEA) technology was used to analyze the levels of 92 proteins. Interestingly, the present data showed that patients with radicular pain 12 months after disc herniation may be different from other patients with regard to many measurable serum cytokines. Given a false discovery rate (FDR) of 0.10 and 0.05, we identified 41 and 13 proteins, respectively, which were significantly upregulated in the patients with severe pain one year after disc herniation. On the top of the list ranked by estimated increase we found C-X-C motif chemokine 5 (CXCM5; 217% increase), epidermal growth factor (EGF; 142% increase), and monocyte chemotactic protein 4 (MCP-4; 70% increase). Moreover, a clear overall difference in the serum cytokine profile between the chronic and the recovered patients was demonstrated. Thus, the present results may be important for future protein serum profiling of lumbar radicular pain patients with regard to prognosis and choice of treatment. We conclude that serum proteins may be measurable molecular markers of persistent pain after disc herniation.