Double peak sensory responses: Effects of capsaicin

I. Aprile, P. Tonali, E. Stalberg, E. Di Stasio, P. Caliandro, M. Foschini, G. Vergili, L. Padua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study is to verify whether degeneration of skin receptors or intradermal nerve endings by topical application of capsaicin modifies the double peak response obtained by submaximal anodal stimulation. Five healthy volunteers topically applied capsaicin to the finger-tip of digit III (on the distal phalanx) four times daily for 4-5 weeks. Before and after local capsaicin applications, we studied the following electrophysiological findings: compound sensory action potential (CSAP), double peak response, sensory threshold and double peak stimulus intensity. Local capsaicin application causes disappearance or decrease of the second component of the double peak, which gradually increases after the suspension of capsaicin. Conversely, no significant differences were observed for CSAP, sensory threshold and double peak stimulus intensity. This study suggests that the second component of the double peak may be a diagnostic tool suitable to show an impairment of the extreme segments of sensory nerve fibres in distal sensory axonopathy in the early stages of damage, when receptors or skin nerve endings are impaired but undetectable by standard nerve conduction studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-269
Number of pages6
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


  • Capsaicin
  • Double peak
  • Neuropathy
  • Neurophysiology
  • Skinnerve endings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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