Dynamic Changes of Functional Pain Connectome in Women with Primary Dysmenorrhea

Ting Hsuan Wu, Cheng Hao Tu, Hsiang Tai Chao, Wei Chi Li, Intan Low, Chih Ying Chuang, Tzu Chen Yeh, Chou Ming Cheng, Chih Che Chou, Li-Fen Chen, Jen-Chuen Hsieh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Primary dysmenorrhea (PDM) is the most prevalent gynecological problem. Many key brain systems are engaged in pain processing. In light of dynamic communication within and between systems (or networks) in shaping pain experience and behavior, the intra-regional functional connectivity (FC) in the hub regions of the systems may be altered and the functional interactions in terms of inter-regional FCs among the networks may be reorganized to cope with the repeated stress of menstrual pain in PDM. Forty-six otherwise healthy PDM subjects and 49 age-matched, healthy female control subjects were enrolled. Intra- and inter-regional FC were assessed using regional homogeneity (ReHo) and ReHo-seeded FC analyses, respectively. PDM women exhibited a trait-related ReHo reduction in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, part of the default mode network (DMN), during the periovulatory phase. The trait-related hypoconnectivity of DMN-salience network and hyperconnectivity of DMN-executive control network across the menstrual cycle featured a dynamic transition from affective processing of pain salience to cognitive modulation. The altered DMN-sensorimotor network may be an ongoing representation of cumulative menstrual pain. The findings indicate that women with long-term PDM may develop adaptive neuroplasticity and functional reorganization with a network shift from affective processing of salience to the cognitive modulation of pain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24543
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - 19 Apr 2016


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