Altered activity of pain processing brain regions in association with hip osteoarthritis

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Abstract

Hip osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by chronic pain, but there remains a mismatch between symptoms and radiological findings. Recently, brain connectivity has been implicated in the modulation of chronic peripheral pain, however its association with perceived pain in hip OA is not understood. We used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine functional connectivity associated with pain in hip OA patients. Thirty participants with hip OA and 10 non-OA controls were recruited. Using the visual analogue scale (VAS), pain scores were obtained before and after performing a painful hip activity. All participants underwent 3.0 T resting-state fMRI, and functional connectivity of brain regions associated with pain was determined and compared between participants, and before and after hip activity. Relative to controls, functional connectivity between the secondary somatosensory cortex and left posterior insula was increased, and functional connectivity between the bilateral posterior insula and motor cortices was significantly decreased in hip OA participants. In response to painful hip activity, functional connectivity increased between the thalamus, periaqueductal grey matter and brainstem. Functional connections between brain regions associated with pain are altered in hip OA patients, and several connections are modulated by performing painful activity. Unique lateralization of left posterior insula and linked brain functional connectivity patterns allows assessment of pain perception in hip OA providing an unbiased method to evaluate pain perception and pain modulation strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2791
JournalScientific Reports
Volume12
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2022

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