Lean mass predicts conditioned pain modulation in adolescents across weight status

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There is a wide continuum of conditioned pain modulation (CPM) in adults with older adults experiencing an attenuated CPM response compared with younger adults. Less is known for adolescents and the role of anthropometrics.


Fifty-six adolescents (15.1 ± 1.8 years; 32 normal weight and 24 overweight/obese; 27 boys) completed in a CPM session that included anthropometric testing. Pressure pain thresholds were measured at the nailbed and deltoid muscle (test stimuli) with the foot submerged in a cool or ice water bath (conditioning stimulus). Weight status, body composition (Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan), physical activity levels and clinical pain were also evaluated.


The CPM response in adolescents was similar across sites (nailbed vs. deltoid), weight status (normal vs. overweight/obese) and sex. CPM measured at the deltoid muscle was positively associated with left arm lean mass but not fat mass; lean mass of the arm uniquely predicted 10% of the CPM magnitude. CPM measured at the nailbed was positively correlated with physical activity levels.


These results suggest that lean mass and physical activity levels may contribute to endogenous pain inhibition in adolescents across weight status.

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