Background and purpose: Sensory symptoms, especially neuropathic pain, are common in polyneuropathy. Conventional diagnostic tools can evaluate structural or functional impairment of nerves but cannot reveal mechanisms of neuropathic pain. Changes in the brain after polyneuropathy may play roles in the genesis of neuropathic pain. Methods: This cross-sectional study investigated changes of cortical excitability within left primary motor cortex (M1) by measuring resting motor thresholds, short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI), intracortical facilitation (ICF), and afferent inhibition between polyneuropathy patients and controls, and investigated the correlates of these parameters with neuropathic pain and M1 structural and functional connectivity assessed by diffusion tractography imaging and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Results: Thirty-three painful and 15 nonpainful neuropathic patients and 21 controls were enrolled. There were no differences in intraepidermal nerve fiber density, nerve conduction studies, thermal thresholds, or autonomic functional tests between patients with and without neuropathic pain. Compared to controls, neuropathic patients exhibited similar resting motor thresholds or afferent inhibition, but attenuated SICI and augmented ICF, especially in painful patients. Changes of intracortical excitability in neuropathic patients were correlated with intensities of neuropathic pain, and different presentations of SICI and ICF were noted between patients with and without thermal paresthesia. Additionally, short-latency afferent inhibition at an interstimulus interval of 20 ms was associated with structural connectivity of left M1 with brain areas associated with pain perception. Conclusions: Maladaptive cortical excitability with altered structural connectivity in left M1 developed after peripheral nerve degeneration and was associated with neuropathic pain and sensory symptoms in polyneuropathy.
|期刊||European Journal of Neurology|
|出版狀態||Accepted/In press - 2022|