The Effects of Transcutaneous Spinal Direct Current Stimulation on Neuropathic Pain in Multiple Sclerosis: Clinical and Neurophysiological Assessment

Eliana Berra, Roberto Bergamaschi, Roberto De Icco, Carlotta Dagna, Armando Perrotta, Marco Rovaris, Maria Grazia Grasso, Maria G Anastasio, Giovanna Pinardi, Federico Martello, Stefano Tamburin, Giorgio Sandrini, Cristina Tassorelli

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Abstract

Background: Central neuropathic pain represents one of the most common symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS) and it seriously affects quality of life. Spinal mechanisms may contribute to the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain in MS. Converging evidence from animal models and neurophysiological and clinical studies in humans suggests a potential effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tc-DCS) on neuropathic pain. Spinal application of DCS, i.e., transcutaneous spinal DCS (ts-DCS), may modulate nociception through inhibition of spinal reflexes. Therefore, ts-DCS could represents an effective, safe and well-tolerated treatment for neuropathic pain in MS, a largely unexplored topic. This study is a pilot randomized double-blind sham-controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of ts-DCS on central neuropathic pain in MS patients. Methods: Thirty-three MS patients with central neuropathic pain were enrolled and randomly assigned to two groups in a double-blind sham-controlled design: anodal ts-DCS group (n = 19, 10 daily 20-min sessions, 2 mA) or sham ts-DCS group (n = 14, 10 daily 20-min sessions, 0 mA). The following clinical outcomes were evaluated before ts-DCS treatment (T0), after 10 days of treatment (T1) and 1 month after the end of treatment (T2): neuropathic pain symptoms inventory (NPSI), Ashworth Scale (AS) for spasticity and Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS). A subgroup of patients treated with anodal ts-DCS (n = 12) and sham ts-DCS (n = 11) also underwent a parallel neurophysiological study of the nociceptive withdrawal reflex (NWR) and the NWR temporal summation threshold (TST), two objective markers of pain processing at spinal level. Results: Anodal ts-DCS group showed a significant improvement in NPSI at T1, which persisted at T2, while we did not detect any significant change in AS and FSS. Sham ts-DCS group did not show any significant change in clinical scales. We observed a non-significant trend towards an inhibition of NWR responses in the anodal ts-DCS group at T1 and T2 when compared to baseline. Conclusions: Anodal ts-DCS seems to have an early and persisting (i.e., 1 month after treatment) clinical efficacy on central neuropathic pain in MS patients, probably through modulation of spinal nociception. Clinical Trial Registration: www.ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier #NCT02331654.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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Neuralgia
Multiple Sclerosis
Reflex
Nociception
Fatigue
Equipment and Supplies
Therapeutics
Animal Models
Quality of Life
Clinical Trials
Pain

Cite this

@article{31a84dd918fd4785b057d3f34bb6aa5b,
title = "The Effects of Transcutaneous Spinal Direct Current Stimulation on Neuropathic Pain in Multiple Sclerosis: Clinical and Neurophysiological Assessment",
abstract = "Background: Central neuropathic pain represents one of the most common symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS) and it seriously affects quality of life. Spinal mechanisms may contribute to the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain in MS. Converging evidence from animal models and neurophysiological and clinical studies in humans suggests a potential effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tc-DCS) on neuropathic pain. Spinal application of DCS, i.e., transcutaneous spinal DCS (ts-DCS), may modulate nociception through inhibition of spinal reflexes. Therefore, ts-DCS could represents an effective, safe and well-tolerated treatment for neuropathic pain in MS, a largely unexplored topic. This study is a pilot randomized double-blind sham-controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of ts-DCS on central neuropathic pain in MS patients. Methods: Thirty-three MS patients with central neuropathic pain were enrolled and randomly assigned to two groups in a double-blind sham-controlled design: anodal ts-DCS group (n = 19, 10 daily 20-min sessions, 2 mA) or sham ts-DCS group (n = 14, 10 daily 20-min sessions, 0 mA). The following clinical outcomes were evaluated before ts-DCS treatment (T0), after 10 days of treatment (T1) and 1 month after the end of treatment (T2): neuropathic pain symptoms inventory (NPSI), Ashworth Scale (AS) for spasticity and Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS). A subgroup of patients treated with anodal ts-DCS (n = 12) and sham ts-DCS (n = 11) also underwent a parallel neurophysiological study of the nociceptive withdrawal reflex (NWR) and the NWR temporal summation threshold (TST), two objective markers of pain processing at spinal level. Results: Anodal ts-DCS group showed a significant improvement in NPSI at T1, which persisted at T2, while we did not detect any significant change in AS and FSS. Sham ts-DCS group did not show any significant change in clinical scales. We observed a non-significant trend towards an inhibition of NWR responses in the anodal ts-DCS group at T1 and T2 when compared to baseline. Conclusions: Anodal ts-DCS seems to have an early and persisting (i.e., 1 month after treatment) clinical efficacy on central neuropathic pain in MS patients, probably through modulation of spinal nociception. Clinical Trial Registration: www.ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier #NCT02331654.",
author = "Eliana Berra and Roberto Bergamaschi and {De Icco}, Roberto and Carlotta Dagna and Armando Perrotta and Marco Rovaris and Grasso, {Maria Grazia} and Anastasio, {Maria G} and Giovanna Pinardi and Federico Martello and Stefano Tamburin and Giorgio Sandrini and Cristina Tassorelli",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.3389/fnhum.2019.00031",
language = "English",
volume = "13",
pages = "31",
journal = "Frontiers in Human Neuroscience",
issn = "1662-5161",
publisher = "Frontiers Media S. A.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Effects of Transcutaneous Spinal Direct Current Stimulation on Neuropathic Pain in Multiple Sclerosis

T2 - Clinical and Neurophysiological Assessment

AU - Berra, Eliana

AU - Bergamaschi, Roberto

AU - De Icco, Roberto

AU - Dagna, Carlotta

AU - Perrotta, Armando

AU - Rovaris, Marco

AU - Grasso, Maria Grazia

AU - Anastasio, Maria G

AU - Pinardi, Giovanna

AU - Martello, Federico

AU - Tamburin, Stefano

AU - Sandrini, Giorgio

AU - Tassorelli, Cristina

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Background: Central neuropathic pain represents one of the most common symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS) and it seriously affects quality of life. Spinal mechanisms may contribute to the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain in MS. Converging evidence from animal models and neurophysiological and clinical studies in humans suggests a potential effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tc-DCS) on neuropathic pain. Spinal application of DCS, i.e., transcutaneous spinal DCS (ts-DCS), may modulate nociception through inhibition of spinal reflexes. Therefore, ts-DCS could represents an effective, safe and well-tolerated treatment for neuropathic pain in MS, a largely unexplored topic. This study is a pilot randomized double-blind sham-controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of ts-DCS on central neuropathic pain in MS patients. Methods: Thirty-three MS patients with central neuropathic pain were enrolled and randomly assigned to two groups in a double-blind sham-controlled design: anodal ts-DCS group (n = 19, 10 daily 20-min sessions, 2 mA) or sham ts-DCS group (n = 14, 10 daily 20-min sessions, 0 mA). The following clinical outcomes were evaluated before ts-DCS treatment (T0), after 10 days of treatment (T1) and 1 month after the end of treatment (T2): neuropathic pain symptoms inventory (NPSI), Ashworth Scale (AS) for spasticity and Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS). A subgroup of patients treated with anodal ts-DCS (n = 12) and sham ts-DCS (n = 11) also underwent a parallel neurophysiological study of the nociceptive withdrawal reflex (NWR) and the NWR temporal summation threshold (TST), two objective markers of pain processing at spinal level. Results: Anodal ts-DCS group showed a significant improvement in NPSI at T1, which persisted at T2, while we did not detect any significant change in AS and FSS. Sham ts-DCS group did not show any significant change in clinical scales. We observed a non-significant trend towards an inhibition of NWR responses in the anodal ts-DCS group at T1 and T2 when compared to baseline. Conclusions: Anodal ts-DCS seems to have an early and persisting (i.e., 1 month after treatment) clinical efficacy on central neuropathic pain in MS patients, probably through modulation of spinal nociception. Clinical Trial Registration: www.ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier #NCT02331654.

AB - Background: Central neuropathic pain represents one of the most common symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS) and it seriously affects quality of life. Spinal mechanisms may contribute to the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain in MS. Converging evidence from animal models and neurophysiological and clinical studies in humans suggests a potential effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tc-DCS) on neuropathic pain. Spinal application of DCS, i.e., transcutaneous spinal DCS (ts-DCS), may modulate nociception through inhibition of spinal reflexes. Therefore, ts-DCS could represents an effective, safe and well-tolerated treatment for neuropathic pain in MS, a largely unexplored topic. This study is a pilot randomized double-blind sham-controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of ts-DCS on central neuropathic pain in MS patients. Methods: Thirty-three MS patients with central neuropathic pain were enrolled and randomly assigned to two groups in a double-blind sham-controlled design: anodal ts-DCS group (n = 19, 10 daily 20-min sessions, 2 mA) or sham ts-DCS group (n = 14, 10 daily 20-min sessions, 0 mA). The following clinical outcomes were evaluated before ts-DCS treatment (T0), after 10 days of treatment (T1) and 1 month after the end of treatment (T2): neuropathic pain symptoms inventory (NPSI), Ashworth Scale (AS) for spasticity and Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS). A subgroup of patients treated with anodal ts-DCS (n = 12) and sham ts-DCS (n = 11) also underwent a parallel neurophysiological study of the nociceptive withdrawal reflex (NWR) and the NWR temporal summation threshold (TST), two objective markers of pain processing at spinal level. Results: Anodal ts-DCS group showed a significant improvement in NPSI at T1, which persisted at T2, while we did not detect any significant change in AS and FSS. Sham ts-DCS group did not show any significant change in clinical scales. We observed a non-significant trend towards an inhibition of NWR responses in the anodal ts-DCS group at T1 and T2 when compared to baseline. Conclusions: Anodal ts-DCS seems to have an early and persisting (i.e., 1 month after treatment) clinical efficacy on central neuropathic pain in MS patients, probably through modulation of spinal nociception. Clinical Trial Registration: www.ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier #NCT02331654.

U2 - 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00031

DO - 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00031

M3 - Article

C2 - 30809137

VL - 13

SP - 31

JO - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

JF - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

SN - 1662-5161

ER -