Inflammation Research

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 32–37 | Cite as

Nitric oxide and pro-inflammatory cytokines correlate with pain intensity in chronic pain patients

  • A. Koch
  • K. Zacharowski
  • O. Boehm
  • M. Stevens
  • P. Lipfert
  • H-J. von Giesen
  • A. Wolf
  • R. Freynhagen
Original Research Paper

Abstract.

Objective:

Inflammatory cytokines as well as nitric oxide (NO) play a key role in the pathogenesis of persistent and exaggerated pain states. To document this, we investigated whether a range of cytokines and NO were detectable in the plasma of chronic pain patients and whether cytokine and NO levels correlated with pain severity.

Methods:

Plasma samples of 94 chronic pain patients and 6 healthy volunteers were obtained. Average pain intensity during the last 24h was assessed on a 11-point numeric rating scale and patients were distributed to three groups: light, moderate and severe pain. The concentrations of TNF-α, GM-CSF, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, interferon (IFN)-γ, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10 and nitrate/nitrite were determined.

Results:

Patients with light pain demonstrated significantly increased levels of IL-6 compared to controls. In the severe pain group IL-6 and nitrate/nitrite were significantly increased. Serum concentrations of IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-2 and IL-4 were increased but as we adjusted the level of significance at p = 0.0045, most cytokine plasma levels failed to reach statistical significance.

Conclusions:

Pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IFN-γ, TNF-α) in the plasma correlate with increasing pain intensity. Chronic pain patients show a significant increase in plasma levels of NO in comparison to healthy controls.

Key words:

Chronic pain Cytokines Nitric oxide (NO) Pain intensity Plasma concentrations 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Koch
    • 1
  • K. Zacharowski
    • 1
  • O. Boehm
    • 1
  • M. Stevens
    • 1
  • P. Lipfert
    • 1
  • H-J. von Giesen
    • 2
  • A. Wolf
    • 3
  • R. Freynhagen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyHeinrich-Heine-University of DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyAlexianer KrankenhausKrefeldGermany
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryHeinrich-Heine-University of DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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