Topically applied high-concentration capsaicin induces reversible dermo-epidermal denervation and depletion of capsaicin- sensitive nociceptors. This causes desensitization of distinct sensory modalities and is used to treat peripheral neuropathic pain and itch. For high-concentration capsaicin, the selectivity of loss of function and functional recovery rates of various afferent fibers subpopulations are unknown. This study used comprehensive quantitative sensory testing and vasomotor imaging to assess effectiveness, duration and sensory selectivity of high-concentration 8% capsaicin–ablation. Skin areas in 14 healthy volunteers were randomized to treatment with 8% capsaicin/vehicle patches for 1 and 24 h and underwent com- prehensive sensory and vasomotor testing at 1, 7 and 21 days postpatch removal. Tests consisted of thermal detection and pain thresholds, tactile and vibration detection thresholds, mechanical pain threshold and mechanical pain sensitivity as well as micro-vascular and itch reactivity to histamine provocations. The 24 h capsaicin drastically inhibited warmth detection (P < 0.001), heat pain (P < 0.001) as well as histamine-induced itch (P < 0.05) and neurogenic flare (P < 0.001), but had no impact on tactile sensitivity, cold detection and cold pain. A marginal decrease in mechanical pain sensitivity was observed (P < 0.05). Capsaicin for 1 h had limited and transient sensory effects only affecting warmth
Experimental Brain Research – Springer Journals
Published: May 29, 2018
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