Response to Heat Pain Stimulation in Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease

R. Nandhagopal, Andre R. Troiano, Edwin Mak, Michael Schulzer, Mary Catherine Bushnell, Alexander Jon Stoessl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pain is a prominent nonmotor symptom in Parkinson's disease (PD) but has not been well studied. Objective: The aim of this study is to assess thermal experience and emotional content, as well as side-to-side sensory differences in PD " off" and " on" dopaminergic therapy following thermal cutaneous stimulation. Design: Cross-sectional design. Setting: University teaching hospital. Methods: Twelve PD subjects experiencing motor fluctuations but no pain symptoms and 13 healthy controls participated in the study. Heat pain and emotional content were assessed using a thermode and visual analog scales in medication on and off states in PD and without medication in healthy controls. Results: There were no side to side differences in heat pain intensity or between PD medication on state and PD medication off state. Unexpectedly, PD subjects reported a higher degree of unpleasantness in response to heat pain while on medication compared with the off state. Conclusions: These results suggest that the perception of heat pain is mediated, at least in part, by nondopaminergic systems in PD, while dopamine might modulate the affective component of pain. Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-840
Number of pages7
JournalPain Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Heat Pain
  • Medication Status
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Unpleasantness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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