Quantifying cerebral contributions to pain beyond nociception

Nat Commun. 2017 Feb 14;8:14211. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14211.

Abstract

Cerebral processes contribute to pain beyond the level of nociceptive input and mediate psychological and behavioural influences. However, cerebral contributions beyond nociception are not yet well characterized, leading to a predominant focus on nociception when studying pain and developing interventions. Here we use functional magnetic resonance imaging combined with machine learning to develop a multivariate pattern signature-termed the stimulus intensity independent pain signature-1 (SIIPS1)-that predicts pain above and beyond nociceptive input in four training data sets (Studies 1-4, N=137). The SIIPS1 includes patterns of activity in nucleus accumbens, lateral prefrontal and parahippocampal cortices, and other regions. In cross-validated analyses of Studies 1-4 and in two independent test data sets (Studies 5-6, N=46), SIIPS1 responses explain variation in trial-by-trial pain ratings not captured by a previous fMRI-based marker for nociceptive pain. In addition, SIIPS1 responses mediate the pain-modulating effects of three psychological manipulations of expectations and perceived control. The SIIPS1 provides an extensible characterization of cerebral contributions to pain and specific brain targets for interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Nociception / physiology*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology
  • Pain / diagnostic imaging
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Perception
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Self-Control