Brain resting-state connectivity in the development of secondary hyperalgesia in healthy men

Morten Sejer Hansen, Lino Becerra, Jørgen Berg Dahl, David Borsook, Johan Mårtensson, Anders Christensen, Janus Damm Nybing, Inger Havsteen, Mikael Boesen, Mohammad Sohail Asghar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Central sensitization is a condition in which there is an abnormal responsiveness to nociceptive stimuli. As such, the process may contribute to the development and maintenance of pain. Factors influencing the propensity for development of central sensitization have been a subject of intense debate and remain elusive. Injury-induced secondary hyperalgesia can be elicited by experimental pain models in humans, and is believed to be a result of central sensitization. Secondary hyperalgesia may thus reflect the individual level of central sensitization. The objective of this study was to investigate possible associations between increasing size of secondary hyperalgesia area and brain connectivity in known resting-state networks. We recruited 121 healthy participants (male, age 22, SD 3.35) who underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Prior to the scan session, areas of secondary hyperalgesia following brief thermal sensitization (3 min. 45 °C heat stimulation) were evaluated in all participants. 115 participants were included in the final analysis. We found a positive correlation (increasing connectivity) with increasing area of secondary hyperalgesia in the sensorimotor- and default mode networks. We also observed a negative correlation (decreasing connectivity) with increasing secondary hyperalgesia area in the sensorimotor-, fronto-parietal-, and default mode networks. Our findings indicate that increasing area of secondary hyperalgesia is associated with increasing and decreasing connectivity in multiple networks, suggesting that differences in the propensity for central sensitization, assessed as secondary hyperalgesia areas, may be expressed as differences in the resting-state central neuronal activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1139
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number3
Early online date2019 Jan 10
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Neurology


  • Central sensitization
  • MRI
  • Pain
  • Resting-state fMRI
  • Secondary hyperalgesia


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