The high frequency stimulation (HFS) model can be used alongside quantitative sensory testing (QST) to assess the sensitisation of central nociceptive pathways. However, the validity and between-session reliability of using QST z -score profiles to measure changes in mechanical and thermal afferent pathways in the HFS model are poorly understood. In this study, 32 healthy participants underwent QST before and after HFS (5× 100 Hz trains; 10× electrical detection threshold) in the same heterotopic skin area across 2 repeated sessions. The only mechanical QST z -score profiles that demonstrated a consistent gain of function across repeated test sessions were mechanical pain threshold (MPT) and mechanical pain sensitivity (MPS), which were associated with moderate and good reliability, respectively. There was no relationship between HFS intensity and MPT and MPS z -score profiles. There was no change in low intensity, but a consistent facilitation of high-intensity pin prick stimuli in the mechanical stimulus response function across repeated test sessions. There was no change in cold pain threshold (CPT) and heat pain threshold (HPT) z -score profiles across session 1 and 2, which were associated with moderate and good reliability, respectively. There were inconsistent changes in the sensitivity to innocuous thermal QST parameters, with cool detection threshold (CDT), warm detection threshold (WDT), and thermal sensory limen (TSL) all producing poor reliability. These data suggest that HFS-induced changes in MPS z -score profiles is a reliable way to assess experimentally induced central sensitisation and associated secondary mechanical hyperalgesia in healthy participants.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Oct 2023

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