Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Theme 3: Plasticity and Memory

Pain and Nociception Neuroscience Research Group

Donders-PLASTICITY-MEMORY-screen thema 3Our group studies central nervous system neuroplasticity – sensory, cognitive and motor – resulting from noxious input, and its relation to pain diseases.

Improved understanding of altered CNS processing underlying pain diseases and their outcomes is the basis for better clinical diagnosis and treatment. Our research is based on translational integration of animal, human and clinical pain and nociception research, and occurs in the context of interdisciplinary internal, national and international collaborations.

Present areas of active research interest include:

  • Human experimental model of central neuroplasticity associated with chronic pain development (induction of long-term potentiation of nociceptive pathways by high-frequency electric stimulation)
  • Translational model of neuropathic pain (animal: freely moving rat CCI model with EEG monitoring; human: post-surgical)
  • Early and late changes in sensory and cognitive processing as a result of surgery, and their relationship to short- and long-term outcomes
  • Impact of preoperative state of sensory and cognitive processing/modulation on short- and long-term postoperative pain and cognitive outcomes
  • Changes in sensory, cognitive and motor processing present in clinical chronic pain syndromes
  • Effects of drugs affecting nociception-induced central neuroplasticity regarding prevention and treatment of chronic pain disorders

We use multiple techniques to study nociception-induced central neuroplasticity, including:

  • psychophysical methods to study pain sensitivity/modulation (multimodal QST, CPM/DNIC)
  • neuroelectrophysiological methods (EEG, EPs, ERPs, oddball/flanker paradigms)
  • neuroimaging techniques (fMRI)
  • cognitive function testing

We collaborate with the group “Genetics of brain function and (psychiatric) malfunction” to study interactions between genetics, nociception-induced central neuroplasticity and pain diseases.

Name: Oliver H.G. Wilder-Smith
Telephone: 024-3668120
Fax: 024-3613585
Visiting address: Department of Anaesthesiology, Pain & Palliative Medicine
Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre
Geert Grooteplein 10
6525 GA Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Postal address: Department of Anaesthesiology, Pain & Palliative Medicine
Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre
P.O. Box 9101
6500 HB Nijmegen
The Netherlands
  • Namisol, a synthetic cannabinoid for pain (EFRO)
  • Pregabalin for chronic pancreatitis pain (Workgroup Pancreatitis)
Key grants and prizes
  • Painsight: QST monitoring in practice (STW-NeuroSIPE)
  • Namisol: A synthetic cannabinoid (EFRO-Gore)
Key publications
  • Effects of pregabalin on central sensitization in patients with chronic pancreatitis in a randomized, controlled trial. Bouwense SA, Olesen SS, Drewes AM, Poley JW, van Goor H, Wilder-Smith OH. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42096. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042096. Epub 2012 Aug 6. PubMed PMID: 22879908
  • Olesen SS, Bouwense SA, Wilder-Smith OH, van Goor H, Drewes AM. Pregabalin reduces pain in patients with chronic pancreatitis in a randomized, controlled trial. Gastroenterology. 2011 Aug;141(2):536-43. Epub 2011 Apr 14. PubMed PMID: 21683078.
  • Frøkjær JB, Olesen SS, Gram M, Yavarian Y, Bouwense SA, Wilder-Smith OH, Drewes AM. Altered brain microstructure assessed by diffusion tensor imaging in patients with chronic pancreatitis. Gut. 2011 Nov;60(11):1554-62. Epub 2011 May 24. PubMed PMID: 21610272.
  • van den Broeke EN, van Heck CH, van Rijn CM, Wilder-Smith OH. Neural correlates of heterotopic facilitation induced after high frequency electrical stimulation of nociceptive pathways. Mol Pain. 2011 Apr 20;7:28. PubMed PMID: 21507241; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3108312.
  • Ruscheweyh R, Wilder-Smith O, Drdla R, Liu XG, Sandkühler J. Long-term potentiation in spinal nociceptive pathways as a novel target for pain therapy. Mol Pain. 2011 Mar 28;7:20. Review. PubMed PMID: 21443797; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3078873.


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Theme 3:
Plasticity and Memory

Research Group
Pain and Nociception Neuroscience Research Group

Principal Investigator
Dr. O.H.G. Wilder-Smith
Dr. Jurgen Bruhn

Group members

Scientific staff
Dr. Harry van Goor
Dr. Marieke Coenen
Dr. Tineke van Rijn
Dr. E. van den Broeke
Dr. Jan Oosterhof
Dr. Joukje Oosterman
Nicholas Chua
Stefan Bouwense
Marjan de Vries
Hans Timmerman
Luuk Schreuders