Plasma endothelin-1 levels in patients with complex regional pain syndrome

Elon Eisenberg, Tomer Erlich, Oren Zinder, Sophie Lichinsky, Eric Diamond, Dorit Pud, Gudarz Davar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The clinical characteristics of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) - spontaneous and stimulus-evoked pain, autonomic abnormalities, motor dysfunction, and trophic changes in the affected limb - are well known. However, its pathogenesis is unclear, and the diagnosis is often delayed, in part due to lack of objective laboratory tests. Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a potent vasoconstrictor that has recently been shown to produce pain, allodynia, edema, and muscle weakness, as well as to exert a direct excitatory effect on nociceptive afferents. Furthermore, new evidence indicates that ET-1 is involved in various cancer- and non-cancer-related painful conditions. The aim of the present explorative study was to determine the ET-1 plasma levels in patients with CRPS in an attempt to identify a 'laboratory marker' for CRPS and to search for evidence suggesting that ET-1 may be involved in the pathogenesis of CRPS. ET-1 plasma levels were determined in 20 severely affected CRPS patients, in eight patients with non-CRPS chronic painful conditions, and in 10 healthy volunteers. The results showed that there were no significant differences in ET-1 plasma levels between the three groups. We conclude that the plasma level of ET-1 cannot be regarded as a 'marker' for CRPS. Yet, the possibility that ET-1 is involved in the pathophysiology of CRPS has not been excluded and deserves further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-538
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Allodynia
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Sudomotor
  • Vasomotor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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