Document Type

Article

Language

eng

Publication Date

9-15-2018

Publisher

BioMed Central

Source Publication

Biology of Sex Differences

Source ISSN

2042-6410

Abstract

Background

Previous studies have shown that women experience greater temporal summation (TS) of pain than men using a repetitive thermal stimulus. These studies, however, did not individualize the thermal stimulus to each subject’s thermal pain sensitivity. The aim of this study was to investigate sex differences in TS using an individualized protocol and potential mediators that have been shown to influence TS including physical activity and body composition.

Methods

Fifty young healthy men and women (21 men) participated in the study. Subjects completed TS testing on the right forearm using a repetitive thermal stimulus at a temperature that the subject reported 6/10 pain. Other testing included body composition (lunar iDXA), activity monitoring (Actigraph), and Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS).

Results

Women reported greater TS than men (p = 0.019), and TS was correlated with right arm lean mass (r = − 0.36, p = 0.01) and magnification subscale of PCS (r = − 0.32, p = 0.03). Mediation analysis showed a complete mediation for the relation between sex and TS by right arm lean mass (indirect effect = 2.33, 95% BCa CI [0.42, 4.58]) after controlling for the temperature, the magnification subscale of PCS, and the average time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Conclusion

The results of this study suggest that lean mass is a contributing factor to the sex differences in TS. Future studies should investigate whether interventions that increase lean mass have a positive effect on TS.

Comments

Published version. Biology of Sex Differences, Vol. 9, No. 42 (2018). DOI. © 2018 The Author(s). Used with permission.

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This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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