Background: In the neurophysiological assessment of patients with neuropathic pain, laser evoked potentials (LEPs), contact heat evoked potentials (CHEPs) and the evoked potentials by the intraepidermal electrical stimulation via concentric needle electrode are widely agreed as nociceptive specific responses; conversely, the nociceptive specificity of evoked potentials by surface concentric electrode (SE-PREPs) is still debated. Methods: In this neurophysiological study we aimed at verifying the nociceptive specificity of SE-PREPs. We recorded LEPs, CHEPs and SE-PREPs in eleven healthy participants, before and after epidermal denervation produced by prolonged capsaicin application. We also used skin biopsy to verify the capsaicin-induced nociceptive nerve fibre loss in the epidermis. Results: We found that whereas LEPs and CHEPs were suppressed after capsaicin-induced epidermal denervation, the surface concentric electrode stimulation of the same denervated skin area yielded unchanged SE-PREPs. Conclusion: The suppression of LEPs and CHEPs after nociceptive nerve fibre loss in the epidermis indicates that these techniques are selectively mediated by nociceptive system. Conversely, the lack of SE-PREP changes suggests that SE-PREPs do not provide selective information on nociceptive system function. Significance: Capsaicin-induced epidermal denervation abolishes laser evoked potentials (LEPs) and contact heat evoked potentials (CHEPs), but leaves unaffected pain-related evoked potentials by surface concentric electrode (SE-PREPs). These findings suggest that unlike LEPs and CHEPs, SE-PREPs are not selectively mediated by nociceptive system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine