Study design: Longitudinal study. Objectives: To assess the impact of spinal cord injury (SCI) on circulating levels of chemokines (CCL2 and CXCL10) and its relation with pain development. Setting: National Hospital for SCI patients. Methods: We longitudinally studied changes in the circulating levels of CCL2 and CXCL10 in 27 male patients with complete SCI who were evaluated in the early subacute phase and indeed 3 and 6 months after injury measuring at each time-point serum levels of CCL2 and CXCL10. Patients were telephonically interviewed about pain 1 year after SCI. Results: In the early subacute phase, patients with pain showed higher CXCL10 and similar CCL2 levels as opposed to those without pain. Moreover, CCL2 concentrations were positively associated with pain intensity. The results obtained by analysing the temporal profile of the chemokines suggested that CXCL10 was inclined to decrease over time, while CCL2 increased over time. Conclusion: The results of this preliminary study, the first performed in humans with traumatic SCI, suggest a link between changes in the circulating chemokine profile and pain development in subacute SCI stage as well as with severity in a more chronic stage. Large series studies will evaluate whether the circulating chemokine status can be useful as a biomarker for assessing the patients’ risk for pain development.
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