Publications by authors named "Daniel Vardeh"

10 Publications

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Periprocedural Pain and Outcome Difference of Local Anesthetic vs Mechanodesensitization During Lumbar Facet Blocks for Low Back Pain.

Pain Med 2020 10;21(10):2100-2104

Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management, Beth Israel Lahey Health, Burlington, Massachusetts, USA.

Objective: To compare periprocedural pain from mechanodesensitization (MD) with local anesthetic (LA) during medial branch blocks (MBBs), with a secondary outcome to compare diagnostic responses during the five hours postprocedure.

Methods: Forty-four patients with low back pain underwent three level bilateral MMBs. For the LA technique, 0.5 mL of 1% lidocaine was injected subcutaneously on one side, and for MD the skin was stretched using the index finger and thumb on the other. A 25-gauge 3.5-inch spinal needle was inserted over each target area, and the periprocedural pain was recorded on the numeric rating scale (NRS). After fluoroscopic positioning, the patient's side preference was recorded. Patients were discharged with a pain diary to record pain scores every 30 minutes for five hours.

Results: Despite reporting higher pain scores with LA vs MD (P = 0.0462, mean difference ± SEM = 0.4924 ± 0.2459), global comparison favored LA. Pain scores with LA dropped from an average baseline of 6.11 to a mean NRS ± SEM of 2.461 ± 0.615, and with MD from 6.11 to 2.599 ± 0.552 (P ≤ 0.001). While there was no significant difference in area under the curve comparison over five hours (P = 0.3341), there was a trend toward lower pain scores with LA use.

Conclusions: LA before needle insertion for MBBs appears to be more painful compared with MD. Additionally, subcutaneously administered local anesthetic may have a therapeutic effect on nonspecific low back pain, resulting in a potentially false-positive test in the evaluation of lumbar facet pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pm/pnaa111DOI Listing
October 2020

Toward a Mechanism-Based Approach to Pain Diagnosis.

J Pain 2016 09;17(9 Suppl):T50-69

FM Kirby Neurobiology Center, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address:

Unlabelled: The past few decades have witnessed a huge leap forward in our understanding of the mechanistic underpinnings of pain, in normal states where it helps protect from injury, and also in pathological states where pain evolves from a symptom reflecting tissue injury to become the disease itself. However, despite these scientific advances, chronic pain remains extremely challenging to manage clinically. Although the number of potential treatment targets has grown substantially and a strong case has been made for a mechanism-based and individualized approach to pain therapy, arguably clinicians are not much more advanced now than 20 years ago, in their capacity to either diagnose or effectively treat their patients. The gulf between pain research and pain management is as wide as ever. We are still currently unable to apply an evidence-based approach to chronic pain management that reflects mechanistic understanding, and instead, clinical practice remains an empirical and often unsatisfactory journey for patients, whose individual response to treatment cannot be predicted. In this article we take a common and difficult to treat pain condition, chronic low back pain, and use its presentation in clinical practice as a framework to highlight what is known about pathophysiological pain mechanisms and how we could potentially detect these to drive rational treatment choice. We discuss how present methods of assessment and management still fall well short, however, of any mechanism-based or precision medicine approach. Nevertheless, substantial improvements in chronic pain management could be possible if a more strategic and coordinated approach were to evolve, one designed to identify the specific mechanisms driving the presenting pain phenotype. We present an analysis of such an approach, highlighting the major problems in identifying mechanisms in patients, and develop a framework for a pain diagnostic ladder that may prove useful in the future, consisting of successive identification of 3 steps: pain state, pain mechanism, and molecular target. Such an approach could serve as the foundation for a new era of individualized/precision pain medicine. The Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTTION)-American Pain Society (APS) Pain Taxonomy (AAPT) includes pain mechanisms as 1 of the 5 dimensions that need to be considered when making a diagnostic classification. The diagnostic ladder proposed in this article is consistent with and an extension of the AAPT.

Perspective: We discuss how identifying the specific mechanisms that operate in the nervous system to produce chronic pain in individual patients could provide the basis for a targeted and rational precision medicine approach to controlling pain, using chronic low back pain as our example.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2016.03.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5012312PMC
September 2016

Functional characterization of a mouse model for central post-stroke pain.

Mol Pain 2016 8;12. Epub 2016 Mar 8.

Division of Pain Neurology, Department of Neurology and Anesthesia, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Background: Stroke patients often suffer from a central neuropathic pain syndrome called central post-stroke pain. This syndrome is characterized by evoked pain hypersensitivity as well as spontaneous, on-going pain in the body area affected by the stroke. Clinical evidence strongly suggests a dysfunction in central pain pathways as an important pathophysiological factor in the development of central post-stroke pain, but the exact underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. To elucidate the underlying pathophysiology of central post-stroke pain, we generated a mouse model that is based on a unilateral stereotactic lesion of the thalamic ventral posterolateral nucleus, which typically causes central post-stroke pain in humans.

Results: Behavioral analysis showed that the sensory changes in our model are comparable to the sensory abnormalities observed in patients suffering from central post-stroke pain. Surprisingly, pharmacological inhibition of spinal and peripheral key components of the pain system had no effect on the induction or maintenance of the evoked hypersensitivity observed in our model. In contrast, microinjection of lidocaine into the thalamic lesion completely reversed injury-induced hypersensitivity.

Conclusions: These results suggest that the evoked hypersensitivity observed in central post-stroke pain is causally linked to on-going neuronal activity in the lateral thalamus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1744806916629049DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4956143PMC
December 2016

Oligodendrocyte ablation triggers central pain independently of innate or adaptive immune responses in mice.

Nat Commun 2014 Dec 1;5:5472. Epub 2014 Dec 1.

Institute for Pharmacology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 366, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

Mechanisms underlying central neuropathic pain are poorly understood. Although glial dysfunction has been functionally linked with neuropathic pain, very little is known about modulation of pain by oligodendrocytes. Here we report that genetic ablation of oligodendrocytes rapidly triggers a pattern of sensory changes that closely resemble central neuropathic pain, which are manifest before overt demyelination. Primary oligodendrocyte loss is not associated with autoreactive T- and B-cell infiltration in the spinal cord and neither activation of microglia nor reactive astrogliosis contribute functionally to central pain evoked by ablation of oligodendrocytes. Instead, light and electron microscopic analyses reveal axonal pathology in the spinal dorsal horn and spinothalamic tract concurrent with the induction and maintenance of nociceptive hypersensitivity. These data reveal a role for oligodendrocytes in modulating pain and suggest that perturbation of oligodendrocyte functions that maintain axonal integrity can lead to central neuropathic pain independent of immune contributions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms6472DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4268702PMC
December 2014

Analgesic treatment with pregabalin does not prevent persistent pain after peripheral nerve injury in the rat.

Pain 2014 Feb 28;155(2):356-366. Epub 2013 Oct 28.

Department of Anesthesiology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA Department of Radiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA Department of Pharmacology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA.

Reducing the risk of chronic postoperative pain through preventive analgesia is an attractive therapeutic concept. Because peripheral nerve lesions are a major cause of chronic pain after surgery, we tested in rats whether analgesic treatment with pregabalin (PGB) has the capacity to mitigate the development of persistent neuropathic pain-like behavior. Starting on the day of spared nerve injury or 1week later, we treated rats with a continuous intrathecal infusion of PGB (300 or 900μg/24hours) or vehicle for up to 28days. Rats receiving early PGB treatment had almost normal withdrawal thresholds for punctate mechanical stimuli and were clearly less sensitive to pinprick or cold stimulation. The responses to punctate mechanical and cold stimulation were still reduced for a brief period after the infusion was terminated, but the difference from vehicle-treated rats was minor. Essentially, the analgesic effect of PGB was limited to the duration of the infusion, whether analgesia started at the time of surgery or with a delay of 1week, independently of the length of the treatment. PGB did not suppress the activation of spinal microglia, indicating that analgesia alone does not eliminate certain pain mechanisms even if they depend, at least partially, on nociceptive input. Unexpectedly, intrathecal infusion of PGB did not inhibit the nerve injury-induced accumulation of its binding target, the voltage-gated calcium channel subunit α2δ1, at primary afferent terminals in the spinal cord. Interference with the synaptic trafficking of α2δ1 is not required to achieve analgesia with PGB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pain.2013.10.024DOI Listing
February 2014

Nuclear calcium signaling in spinal neurons drives a genomic program required for persistent inflammatory pain.

Neuron 2013 Jan;77(1):43-57

Institute for Pharmacology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld, Heidelberg 69120, Germany.

Persistent pain induced by noxious stimuli is characterized by the transition from normosensitivity to hypersensitivity. Underlying mechanisms are not well understood, although gene expression is considered important. Here, we show that persistent nociceptive-like activity triggers calcium transients in neuronal nuclei within the superficial spinal dorsal horn, and that nuclear calcium is necessary for the development of long-term inflammatory hypersensitivity. Using a nucleus-specific calcium signal perturbation strategy in vivo complemented by gene profiling, bioinformatics, and functional analyses, we discovered a pain-associated, nuclear calcium-regulated gene program in spinal excitatory neurons. This includes C1q, a modulator of synaptic spine morphogenesis, which we found to contribute to activity-dependent spine remodelling on spinal neurons in a manner functionally associated with inflammatory hypersensitivity. Thus, nuclear calcium integrates synapse-to-nucleus communication following noxious stimulation and controls a spinal genomic response that mediates the transition between acute and long-term nociceptive sensitization by modulating functional and structural plasticity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2012.10.037DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3593630PMC
January 2013

Overexpression of the wild-type SPT1 subunit lowers desoxysphingolipid levels and rescues the phenotype of HSAN1.

J Neurosci 2009 Nov;29(46):14646-51

Massachusetts General Hospital Neuroscience Center, Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.

Mutations in the SPTLC1 subunit of serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT) cause an adult-onset, hereditary sensory, and autonomic neuropathy type I (HSAN1). We previously reported that mice bearing a transgene-expressing mutant SPTLC1 (tgSPTLC1(C133W)) show a reduction in SPT activity and hyperpathia at 10 months of age. Now analyzed at a later age, we find these mice develop sensory loss with a distal small fiber neuropathy and peripheral myelinopathy. This phenotype is largely reversed when these mice are crossed with transgenic mice overexpressing wild-type SPTLC1 showing that the mutant SPTLC1 protein is not inherently toxic. Simple loss of SPT activity also cannot account for the HSAN1 phenotype, since heterozygous SPTLC1 knock-out mice have reduced SPT activity but are otherwise normal. Rather, the presence of two newly identified, potentially deleterious deoxysphingoid bases in the tgSPTLC1(C133W), but not in the wild-type, double-transgenic tgSPTLC1(WT + C133W) or SPTLC1(+/-) mice, suggests that the HSAN1 mutations alter amino acid selectivity of the SPT enzyme such that palmitate is condensed with alanine and glycine, in addition to serine. This observation is consistent with the hypothesis that HSAN1 is the result of a gain-of-function mutation in SPTLC1 that leads to accumulation of a toxic metabolite.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2536-09.2009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3849752PMC
November 2009

T-cell infiltration and signaling in the adult dorsal spinal cord is a major contributor to neuropathic pain-like hypersensitivity.

J Neurosci 2009 Nov;29(46):14415-22

UCL Department of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology and UCL Department of Biochemistry, University College London, London WC1 EBT, United Kingdom.

Partial peripheral nerve injury in adult rats results in neuropathic pain-like hypersensitivity, while that in neonatal rats does not, a phenomenon also observed in humans. We therefore compared gene expression profiles in the dorsal horn of adult and neonatal rats in response to the spared nerve injury (SNI) model of peripheral neuropathic pain. The 148 differentially regulated genes in adult, but not young, rat spinal cords indicate a greater microglial and T-cell response in adult than in young animals. T-cells show a large infiltration in the adult dorsal horn but not in the neonate after SNI. T-cell-deficient Rag1-null adult mice develop less neuropathic mechanical allodynia than controls, and central expression of cytokines involved in T-cell signaling exhibits large relative differences between young and adult animals after SNI. One such cytokine, interferon-gamma (IFNgamma), is upregulated in the dorsal horn after nerve injury in the adult but not neonate, and we show that IFNgamma signaling is required for full expression of adult neuropathic hypersensitivity. These data reveal that T-cell infiltration and activation in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord following peripheral nerve injury contribute to the evolution of neuropathic pain-like hypersensitivity. The neuroimmune interaction following peripheral nerve injury has therefore a substantial adaptive immune component, which is absent or suppressed in the young CNS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4569-09.2009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2813708PMC
November 2009

COX2 in CNS neural cells mediates mechanical inflammatory pain hypersensitivity in mice.

J Clin Invest 2009 Feb 5;119(2):287-94. Epub 2009 Jan 5.

Neural Plasticity Research Group, Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02129, USA.

A cardinal feature of peripheral inflammation is pain. The most common way of managing inflammatory pain is to use nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents (NSAIDs) that reduce prostanoid production, for example, selective inhibitors of COX2. Prostaglandins produced after induction of COX2 in immune cells in inflamed tissue contribute both to the inflammation itself and to pain hypersensitivity, acting on peripheral terminals of nociceptors. COX2 is also induced after peripheral inflammation in neurons in the CNS, where it aids in developing a central component of inflammatory pain hypersensitivity by increasing neuronal excitation and reducing inhibition. We engineered mice with conditional deletion of Cox2 in neurons and glial cells to determine the relative contribution of peripheral and central COX2 to inflammatory pain hypersensitivity. In these mice, basal nociceptive pain was unchanged, as was the extent of peripheral inflammation, inflammatory thermal pain hypersensitivity, and fever induced by lipopolysaccharide. By contrast, peripheral inflammation-induced COX2 expression in the spinal cord was reduced, and mechanical hypersensitivity after both peripheral soft tissue and periarticular inflammation was abolished. Mechanical pain is a major symptom of most inflammatory conditions, such as postoperative pain and arthritis, and induction of COX2 in neural cells in the CNS seems to contribute to this.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI37098DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2631301PMC
February 2009

Nociceptors are interleukin-1beta sensors.

J Neurosci 2008 Dec;28(52):14062-73

Neural Plasticity Research Group, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.

A cardinal feature of inflammation is heightened pain sensitivity at the site of the inflamed tissue. This results from the local release by immune and injured cells of nociceptor sensitizers, including prostaglandin E(2), bradykinin, and nerve growth factor, that reduce the threshold and increase the excitability of the peripheral terminals of nociceptors so that they now respond to innocuous stimuli: the phenomenon of peripheral sensitization. We show here that the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), in addition to producing inflammation and inducing synthesis of several nociceptor sensitizers, also rapidly and directly activates nociceptors to generate action potentials and induce pain hypersensitivity. IL-1beta acts in a p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAP kinase)-dependent manner, to increase the excitability of nociceptors by relieving resting slow inactivation of tetrodotoxin-resistant voltage-gated sodium channels and also enhances persistent TTX-resistant current near threshold. By acting as an IL-1beta sensor, nociceptors can directly signal the presence of ongoing tissue inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3795-08.2008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2690713PMC
December 2008