Deconstructing biomarkers for chronic pain: context- and hypothesis-dependent biomarker types in relation to chronic pain

Pain. 2019 May;160 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S37-S48. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001529.


This review expounds on types and properties of biomarkers for chronic pain, given a mechanistic model of processes underlying development of chronic pain. It covers advances in the field of developing biomarkers for chronic pain, while outlining the general principles of categorizing types of biomarkers driven by specific hypotheses regarding underlying mechanisms. Within this theoretical construct, example biomarkers are described and their properties expounded. We conclude that the field is advancing in important directions and the developed biomarkers have the potential of impacting both the science and the clinical practice regarding chronic pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Chronic Pain / blood*
  • Chronic Pain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Electroencephalography / trends
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / trends
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging*
  • Nerve Net / metabolism
  • Spinal Cord / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism


  • Biomarkers