16 September 2020
We evaluated whether active(a)-tDCS combined with hypnotic analgesia suggestion (HS) would be more effective than a single active(a)-tDCS, and/or sham-(s)-tDCS and s-tDCS/HS on the following outcomes: function of descending pain modulatory system (DPMS) during the conditioned pain modulation test (CPM-test) (primary outcome), heat pain threshold (HPT), heat pain tolerance (HPTo) and cold pressor test (CPT) (secondary outcomes). We also examined whether their effects are related to neuroplasticity state evaluated by serum brain-derived-neurotropic factor (BDNF).
Forty-eight females received one session of one of the four interventions (a-tDCS/HS, s-tDCS/HS, a-tDCS, and s-tDCS) in an incomplete randomized crossover sequence. The a-tDCS or s-tDCS was applied over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) for 30 minutes at 2mA.
A generalized linear model revealed a significant main effect for the intervention group (P <0.032). The delta-(Δ) pain score on the Numerical Pain Scale (NPS0-10) during CPM-test in the a-tDCS/HS group was −0.25 (0.43). The (Δ) pain score on NPS (0–10) during CPM-test in the other three groups was a-tDCS=−0.54 (0.41), HS −0.01 (0.41) and s-tDCS/HS=−0.19 (0.43). A-tDCS/HS intervention increased the CPT substantially compared to all other interventions. Also, higher baseline levels of BDNF were associated with a larger change in CPT and HPTo.
These findings indicate that the HS combined with a-tDCS mitigated the effect of the a-tDCS on the DPMS. The a-tDCS up-regulates the inhibition on DPMS, and the HS improved pain tolerance. And, together they enhanced the reaction time substantially upon the CPT.
www.ClinicalTrials.gov , identifier NCT03744897.