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Handchir Mikrochir Plast Chir. 2010 Feb;42(1):8-14. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1246211. Epub 2010 Mar 4.

[Current concepts in pathophysiology of CRPS I].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Universität Erlangen, Neurologische Klinik, Erlangen.

Abstract

Knowledge about the pathophysiology underlying the complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) has increased over the last years. Classically, CRPS has been considered to be mainly driven by sympathetic dysfunction with sympathetically maintained pain being its major pathogenetic mechanism. Currently, the disease is understood as result of a complex interplay between altered somatosensory, motor, autonomic and inflammatory systems. Peripheral and central sensitization is a common feature in CRPS as in other neuropathic pain syndromes. One important mechanism is the sensitization of spinal dorsal horn cells via activation of postsynaptic NMDA-receptors by chronic C-fiber input. Differential activity of endogenous pain modulating systems may play a pivotal role in the development of CRPS, too. Neuronal plasticity of the somatosensory cortex accounts for central sensory signs. Also the motor system is subject to central adaptive changes in patients with CRPS. Calcitonin-gene related peptide (CGRP) and substance P mediate neurogenic inflammation. Additionally other proinflammatory cytokines involved in the inflammatory response in CRPS have been identified. In terms of the sympathetic nervous system, recent evidence rather points to a sensitization of adrenergic receptors than to increased efferent sympathetic activity. Particularly the expression of alpha (1)-adrenoceptors on nociceptive C-fibers may play a major role. These pathophysiological ideas do not exclude each other. In fact they complement one another. The variety of the involved systems may explain the versatile clinical picture of CRPS.

Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart, New York.

PMID:
20205061
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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