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Pain Rep. 2016 Aug;1(2). pii: e569. doi: 10.1097/PR9.0000000000000569.

Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation after human cold pain testing.

Author information

Department of Biological Sciences and Chronic Pain Research Consortium, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Washington University Pain Center and Department of Anesthesiology, St. Louis, MO, USA.
Center for the Study of Itch, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.


Changes in cold temperature sensitivity are often associated with chronic pain conditions. Progress in understanding the neurobiological mechanism underlying these changes and resulting development of effective therapies has been slowed by the accessibility and affordability of devices used to measure thermal sensitivity in humans. To address this gap, we developed an inexpensive method to measure cold pain thresholds in healthy adult volunteers using dry ice and a thermode. However, early in preliminary testing, a subject presented with epidermal postinflammatory hyperpigmentation that lasted for >200 days. Although this response was unique among the small number of subjects in development of the assay, it raised questions as to the safety of the assay design.


Adverse event; Cold pain; Human testing; Hypersensitivity; Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest statement The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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