Establishing a relationship between bacteria in the human gut and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Erin R. Reichenberger, Guillermo M. Alexander, Marielle J. Perreault, Jacob A. Russell, Robert J. Schwartzman, Uri Hershberg, Gail Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a serious and painful condition involving the peripheral and central nervous systems. Full comprehension of the disorder's pathophysiology remains incomplete, but research implicates the immune system as a contributor to chronic pain. Because of the impact gastrointestinal bacteria have in the development and behavior of the immune system, this study compares the GI microbial communities of 16 participants with CRPS (5 of whom have intestinal discomforts) and 16 healthy controls using 454 sequencing technology. CRPS subjects were found to have significantly less diversity than their healthy counterparts. Statistical analysis of the phylogenetic classifications revealed significantly increased levels of Proteobacteria and decreased levels of Firmicutes in CRPS subjects. Clustering analysis showed significant separation between healthy controls and CRPS subjects. These results support the hypothesis that the GI microbial communities of CRPS participants differ from those of their healthy counterparts. These variations may hold the key to understanding how CRPS develops and provide information that could yield a potential treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-69
Number of pages8
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • 16S rRNA
  • 454 Sequencing
  • Bacteria
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Gut
  • Gut-brain axis
  • Immune
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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