Intracutaneous histamine injection can detect damage of cutaneous afferent fibres in postherpetic neuralgia.

The axon reflex response in diseased skin of patients with postherpetic neuralgia may be significantly impaired.
In the present study we introduced a simple test for quantifying the decreased axon reflex flare response in the clinical routine.
Histamine was intradermally applied to the diseased dermatome as well as to the corresponding dermatome of the contralateral side of the body. Ten minutes after application, skin blood flow and the extension of the hyperaemic response were assessed by means of laser Doppler scanning.
In the skin region affected by the postherpetic neuralgia, the hyperaemic area was significantly smaller than in the healthy skin. The mean flux values did not differ significantly between the two sites. There was no correlation between the hyperaemic response and the intensity of pain sensation assessed by a clinical visual analogue score.
The smaller hyperaemic area in the dermatome with postherpetic neuralgia strongly indicates a C fibre or C nociceptor damage. We consider histamine injections as a useful tool in the differential diagnosis of postherpetic neuralgia.
AuthorsM Stücker, P Hügler, G von Kobyletzki, T Reuther, K Hoffmann, H Laubenthal, P Altmeyer
JournalDermatology (Basel, Switzerland) (Dermatology) Vol. 195 Issue 4 Pg. 311-6 ( 1997) ISSN: 1018-8665 [Print] SWITZERLAND
PMID9529547 (Publication Type: Journal Article)
Chemical References
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Histamine
  • Aged
  • Axons (physiology)
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Herpes Zoster (complications, physiopathology)
  • Histamine (administration & dosage)
  • Humans
  • Hyperemia (physiopathology)
  • Injections, Intradermal
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers (physiology)
  • Neuralgia (diagnosis, etiology, physiopathology)
  • Neurons, Afferent (physiology)
  • Neurotransmitter Agents (administration & dosage)
  • Nociceptors (physiology)
  • Pain Measurement
  • Reflex (physiology)
  • Regional Blood Flow (physiology)
  • Skin (blood supply, innervation)
  • Vasodilator Agents (administration & dosage)

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