Imaging Pain

Completing the Pain Circuit: Recent Advances in Imaging Pain and Inflammation beyond the Central Nervous System

Clas Linnman and David Borsook


This review describes some of the recent developments in imaging aspects of pain in the periphery. It is now possible to image nerves in the cornea non-invasively, to image receptor level expression and inflammatory processes in injured tissue, to image nerves and alterations in nerve properties, to image astrocyte and glial roles in neuroinflammatory processes, and to image pain conduction functionally in the trigeminal ganglion. These advances will ultimately allow us to describe the pain pathway, from injury site to behavioral consequence, in a quantitative manner. Such a development could lead to diagnostics determining the source of pain (peripheral or central), objective monitoring of treatment progression, and, hopefully, objective biomarkers of pain.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2013;4(4):e0026