Andreas Hess1, Juergen Rech2, Arnd Doerfler3, Georg Kollias4, Olaf Sporns5, Georg Schett2
1Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany; 2Department of Internal Medicine 3, Erlangen, Germany; 3of Neuroradiology, FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany; 4Institute of Immunology; Alexander Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Center, Vari, Greece; 5Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Programs in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, IN, United States
Pain is the key symptom in patients with arthritis. We hypothesized that hypernociception due to chronic TNF overexpression leads to an altered pain processing. Using fMRI we demonstrated that mice overexpressing human tumor necrosis factor (hTNF), as well as rheumatoid arthritis patients exhibit more intensive brain activity upon nociceptive stimuli. Graph-theoretical connectivity analysis showed rewiring under chronic pain conditions i.e. tight clustering of thalamus and periaqueductal grey. Neutralization of TNF by antibodies rapidly reversed this hypernociception in mice and men. This similarity of pain related effects in mouse and man facilitates a translational approach for searching for novel analgesics.