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Corticostriatal functional connectivity predicts transition to chronic back pain

Nature Neuroscience volume 15, pages 11171119 (2012) | Download Citation

Abstract

The mechanism of brain reorganization in pain chronification is unknown. In a longitudinal brain imaging study, subacute back pain (SBP) patients were followed over the course of 1 year. When pain persisted (SBPp, in contrast to recovering SBP and healthy controls), brain gray matter density decreased. Initially greater functional connectivity of nucleus accumbens with prefrontal cortex predicted pain persistence, implying that corticostriatal circuitry is causally involved in the transition from acute to chronic pain.

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Acknowledgements

We thank all of the patients and healthy volunteers that participated in the study. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NS35115). M.N.B. was funded by an anonymous foundation.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Physiology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

    • Marwan N Baliki
    • , Bogdan Petre
    • , Souraya Torbey
    • , Kristina M Herrmann
    • , Lejian Huang
    •  & A Vania Apkarian
  2. Department of Rheumatology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

    • Thomas J Schnitzer
  3. Department of Neurology and the Ernest Gallo Clinic & Research Center, University of California, San Francisco, Emeryville, California, USA.

    • Howard L Fields
  4. Departments of Anesthesia and Surgery, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

    • A Vania Apkarian

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Contributions

M.N.B. conducted the experiment, analyzed the data and prepared and wrote the manuscript. B.P. contributed to data collection and analysis. S.T. recruited subjects and conducted the experiment. K.M.H. contributed to data collection. L.H. performed data quality control. T.J.S. recruited subjects and edited the manuscript. H.L.F. wrote the manuscript. A.V.A. designed and supervised the experiment and wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to A Vania Apkarian.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.3153