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Brain Behav Immun. 2015 Feb;44:32-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2014.10.003. Epub 2014 Oct 14.

Negative affectivity predicts decreased pain tolerance during low-grade inflammation in healthy women.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 1, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands; Department of Symptom Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Unit 1450, Houston, TX 77030, USA. Electronic address: tlacourt@mdanderson.org.
2
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 1, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands; Department of Psychiatry, University of Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ Groningen, The Netherlands.
3
School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom.
4
School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom; Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Weesperplein 4, 1018 XA Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine (MIPH), Mannheim Medical Faculty, University of Heidelberg, Ludolf-Krehl-Strasse 7-11, D-68167 Mannheim, Germany.
5
Division of Immunity and Infection, Medical School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom.
6
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 1, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Experimental animal studies provided evidence for a synergistic effect of immunological and psychological stressors on subsequent sickness behaviours. Up to now, little corroborating evidence for such synergy exists for humans, in whom it may provide a mechanism leading to the expression of functional somatic symptoms. The aim of the present study was to determine an interaction between stress(-vulnerability) and an immunological activation on experimental pain sensitivity, i.e., pressure pain threshold and tolerance in healthy humans.

METHODS:

In healthy female participants (n=25, mean age 22.3 years), negative affectivity (NA) and experienced stress were assessed by questionnaire before receiving a Salmonella typhi vaccine or saline control in a randomized blinded cross-over design. Pressure pain threshold was assessed at the lower back and calves and pain tolerance was assessed at the thumbnail, before and six hours after each injection.

RESULTS:

Vaccination induced leukocytosis (+100%) and increased serum IL-6 (+670%). NA predicted decreased pain tolerance after vaccination (β=-.57, p=.007), but not after placebo (β=.25, p=.26). Post-hoc analyses also demonstrated an association with administration order.

DISCUSSION:

NA moderated the effects of inflammation on pain tolerance. This finding is consistent with a synergistic model whereby inflammation may lower the threshold for pain reporting in individuals with increased vulnerability for somatic symptom reporting.

KEYWORDS:

Algometry; Cytokines; Experimental pain; Human; Inflammation; Inflammatory response; Interleukin-6; Life events; Negative affect; Negative affectivity; Pain sensitivity; Pain threshold; Pain tolerance; Placebo; Pressure pain; Randomized control; Stress; Vaccine

PMID:
25451608
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbi.2014.10.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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