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Salivary alpha-amylase correlates with subjective heat pain perception


Wittwer, Amrei; Krummenacher, Peter; La Marca, Roberto; Ehlert, Ulrike; Folkers, Gerd (2016). Salivary alpha-amylase correlates with subjective heat pain perception. Pain Medicine, 17(6):1131-1136.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Self-reports of pain are important for an adequate therapy. This is a problem with patients and infants who are restricted in providing an accurate verbal estimation of their pain. Reliable, real-time, economical, and non-invasive physiological correlates might contribute to a more comprehensive description of pain. Salivary alpha-amylase constitutes one candidate biomarker, which reflects predominantly sympathetic nervous system alterations under stressful conditions and can be measured non-invasively. The current study investigated the effects of acute heat pain on salivary alpha- amylase activity.
METHODS: Heat pain tolerance was measured on the non-dominant forearm. Participants completed visual analog scales on pain intensity and unpleasantness. Saliva samples were collected directly after pain induction.
SUBJECTS: Twenty-seven healthy volunteers were recruited for this study.
RESULTS: While salivary alpha-amylase levels correlated positively with intensity and unpleasantness ratings in response to acute heat pain stimuli, there was no corresponding association with pain tolerance.
CONCLUSIONS: Salivary alpha-amylase is suggested to be an indirect physiologic correlate of subjective heat pain perception. Future studies should address the role of salivary alpha-amylase depending on the origin of pain, the concerned tissue, and other pain assessment methods.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Self-reports of pain are important for an adequate therapy. This is a problem with patients and infants who are restricted in providing an accurate verbal estimation of their pain. Reliable, real-time, economical, and non-invasive physiological correlates might contribute to a more comprehensive description of pain. Salivary alpha-amylase constitutes one candidate biomarker, which reflects predominantly sympathetic nervous system alterations under stressful conditions and can be measured non-invasively. The current study investigated the effects of acute heat pain on salivary alpha- amylase activity.
METHODS: Heat pain tolerance was measured on the non-dominant forearm. Participants completed visual analog scales on pain intensity and unpleasantness. Saliva samples were collected directly after pain induction.
SUBJECTS: Twenty-seven healthy volunteers were recruited for this study.
RESULTS: While salivary alpha-amylase levels correlated positively with intensity and unpleasantness ratings in response to acute heat pain stimuli, there was no corresponding association with pain tolerance.
CONCLUSIONS: Salivary alpha-amylase is suggested to be an indirect physiologic correlate of subjective heat pain perception. Future studies should address the role of salivary alpha-amylase depending on the origin of pain, the concerned tissue, and other pain assessment methods.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:13 January 2016
Deposited On:15 Jan 2016 11:55
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 17:28
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1526-2375
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/pm/pnv085
PubMed ID:26764337

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