Association between systemic inflammation and experimental pain sensitivity in subjects with pain and painless neuropathy after traumatic nerve injuries.

Miclescu AA, Granlund P, Butler S, Gordh T

Scand J Pain - (-) - [2022-05-09; online 2022-05-09]

Peripheral neuropathies that occur secondary to nerve injuries may be painful or painless, and including a low-grade inflammation and pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with both regeneration and damage of peripheral nerve cells and fibers. Currently, there are no validated methods that can distinguished between neuropathic pain and painless neuropathy. The aim of this study was to search for proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory proteins associated with pain and experimental pain sensitivity in subjects with surgeon-verified nerve injuries in the upper extremities. One hundred and thirty-one subjects [69 with neuropathic pain, NP; 62 with painless neuropathy, nP] underwent a conditioned pain modulation (CPM) test that included a cold pressor task (CPT) conducted with the non-injured hand submerged in cold water (4 °C) until pain was intolerable. CPM was assessed by pain ratings to pressure stimuli before and after applying the CPT. Efficient CPM effect was defined as the ability of the individual's CS to inhibit at least 29% of pain (eCPM). The subjects were assigned to one of two subgroups: pain sensitive (PS) and pain tolerant (PT) after the time they could tolerate their hand in cold water (PS<40 s and PT=60 s) . Plasma samples were analyzed for 92 proteins incorporated in the inflammation panel using multiplex Protein Extension Array Technology (PEA). Differentially expressed proteins were investigated using both univariate and multivariate analysis (principal component analysis-PCA and orthogonal partial least-squares discriminant analysis-OPLS-DA). Significant differences in all protein levels were found between PS and PT subgroups (CV-ANOVA p<0.001), but not between NP and nP groups (p=0.09) or between inefficient CPM (iCPM) and eCPM (p=0.53) subgroups. Several top proteins associated with NP could be detected using multivariate regression analysis such as stromelysin 2 (MMPs), interleukin-2 receptor subunit beta (IL2RB), chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 3 (CXCL3), fibroblast growth factor 5 (FGF5), chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 28 (CCL28), CCL25, CCL11, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), interleukin 4 (IL4), IL13. After adjusting for multiple testing, none of these proteins correlated significantly with pain. Higher levels of CCL20 (p=0.049) and CUB domain-containing protein (CDCP-1; p=0.047) were found to correlate significantly with cold pain sensitivity. CDCP-1 was highly associated with both PS and iCPM (p=0.042). No significant alterations in systemic proteins were found comparing subjects with neuropathic pain and painless neuropathy. An expression of predominant proinflammatory proteins was associated with experimental cold pain sensitivity in both subjects with pain and painless neuropathy. One these proteins, CDC-1 acted as "molecular fingerprint" overlapping both CPM and CPT. This observation might have implications for the study of pain in general and should be addressed in more detail in future experiments.

Affinity Proteomics Uppsala [Service]

PubMed 35531763

DOI 10.1515/sjpain-2021-0195

Crossref 10.1515/sjpain-2021-0195

pii: sjpain-2021-0195

Publications 9.5.0