Pain-free resting-state functional brain connectivity predicts individual pain sensitivity

Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 10;11(1):187. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13785-z.


Individual differences in pain perception are of interest in basic and clinical research as altered pain sensitivity is both a characteristic and a risk factor for many pain conditions. It is, however, unclear how individual sensitivity to pain is reflected in the pain-free resting-state brain activity and functional connectivity. Here, we identify and validate a network pattern in the pain-free resting-state functional brain connectome that is predictive of interindividual differences in pain sensitivity. Our predictive network signature allows assessing the individual sensitivity to pain without applying any painful stimulation, as might be valuable in patients where reliable behavioural pain reports cannot be obtained. Additionally, as a direct, non-invasive readout of the supraspinal neural contribution to pain sensitivity, it may have implications for translational research and the development and assessment of analgesic treatment strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Connectome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Perception / physiology*
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Young Adult