Consortium LOGIN “Localized and Generalized Muskuloskeletal Pain: Psychobiological Mechanisms and Implications for Treatment“

Speaker: Prof. Dr. med. Wolfgang Eich (Heidelberg)
Coordination: Dr. phil. Dipl.-Psych. Andreas Gerhardt (Heidelberg)

Subproject leaders:
Prof. Dr. Siegfried Mense (Mannheim, subproject 1), Prof. Dr. Beat Lutz (Mainz, subproject 2), Prof. Dr. Martin Schmelz (Mannheim, subproject 3), Prof. Dr. Rolf-Detlef Treede (Mannheim, subproject 4), Prof. Dr. Herta Flor (Mannheim, subproject 5), Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Eich (Heidelberg, subproject 6), Prof. Dr. Annette Becker (Marburg, subproject 7)
Musculoskeletal pain is the main cause of chronic long-term pain and disability. About ¼ of the population suffers from chronic musculoskeletal pain in there life. Although knowledge of incidence and prevalence as well as sociodemografic and mental correlates is well established, therapeutic interventions in musculoskeletal pain are often of minor success. This is probably due to the fact that etiology and pathogenesis of musculoskeletal pain are still widely unknown, resulting in predominantly unspecific interventions.
Therefore, leading scientists of different research areas decided to collaborate in the consortium LOGIN (Localized and Generalized Musculoskeletal Pain: Psychobiological Mechanisms and Implications for Treatment). The consortium is supported by a research grant from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). LOGIN aims to establish a mechanisms-based subgroup classification of patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. This might foster development of specific mechanism-based pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapeutic interventions.

The consortium consists of seven subprojects with different research aspects:

  • Subproject 1 (S. Mense, Mannheim): In this subproject psychoneurobiological mechanisms will be studied that are assumed to be involved in the transition from local to chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain. As models of musculoskeletal pain, rats will be used in which acute or chronic low-back pain has been induced.
  • Subproject 2 (B. Lutz, Mainz): This subproject aims at substantiating the hypothesis of a strong relation between anxiety disorders, such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with the emergence of increased pain sensitivity, and a transition from local to chronic widespread pain.
  • Subproject 3 (M. Schmelz, Mannheim): In this subproject the differential role of NGF in inducing sensitization in muscle and skin will be investigated. Moreover, by local injections in the skin, muscle fascia, and muscle we will identify the tissue most sensitive to NGF and thereby verify target structures for future analgesic therapy.
  • Subproject 4 (R.-D. Treede, Mannheim): The aim of this subproject is to study the differential susceptibility of subcutis, fascia and muscle for acute nociceptive sensitivity and short-term sensitization, and changes thereof in acute musculoskeletal back pain, chronic local or widespread musculoskeletal pain.
  • Subproject 5 (H. Flor, Mannheim): In this subproject we will examine to what extent enhanced central sensitization and deficient descending inhibition as assessed by stress analgesia are core characteristics of widespread musculoskeletal pain and how they differ in localized pain.
  • Subproject 6 (W. Eich, Heidelberg): This subproject aims to identify psychophysiological and neurobiological correlates of musculoskeletal pain and mental co-morbidity (especially mental trauma).
  • Subproject 7 (A. Becker, Marburg): This subproject studies the prevalence of localized and chronic widespread pain in primary care. Moreover, predictors for the generalization and the persistence of chronic local pain in low-back pain patients will be identified.

In a second funding period specific mechanism-based therapeutic interventions will be developed.