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The Neuroinflammatory Component of Negative Affect in Patients with Chronic Pain

Abstract: Negative affect (NA) is a significant cause of disability for chronic pain patients. While little is known about the mechanism underlying pain-comorbid NA, previous studies have implicated neuroinflammation in the pathophysiology of both depression and chronic pain. Here, we tested the hypothesis that NA in pain patients is linked to elevations in the brain levels of the glial marker 18 kDa translocator protein (TSPO), and changes in functional connectivity. 25 cLBP patients (42.4 ± 13 years old; 13F, 12M) with chronic low back pain (cLBP) and 27 healthy control subjects (48.9 ± 13 years old; 14F, 13M) received an integrated (i.e., simultaneous) positron emission tomography (PET)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan with the second-generation TSPO ligand [11C]PBR28.

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