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Neuroreport. 1999 May 14;10(7):1511-6.

A new human experimental pain model: the heat/capsaicin sensitization model.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neurology, UCSF Pain Clinical Research Center, University of California, San Francisco 94115, USA.

Erratum in

  • Neuroreport 2002 Jan 21;13(1):inside back cover.


The heat/capsaicin sensitization model is a new human experimental pain model that synergistically combines non-invasive physical and chemical methods of nociceptor stimulation to produce stable and long-lasting hyperalgesia with a low potential for skin injury. In 10 healthy volunteers the forearm was stimulated with a 45 degrees C thermode for 5 min to produce an area of secondary hyperalgesia. Applying capsaicin cream for 30 min further expanded the area of secondary hyperalgesia. Periodically heating the treated skin with a previously non-painful temperature of 40 degrees C re-kindled the sensitization enough to maintain stable areas of secondary hyperalgesia for 4h. The evoked pain was moderate and well tolerated. The heat/capsaicin sensitization model should be well suited for studying pain mechanisms and testing new analgesics.

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