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Pain research at UCLouvain

Institute of Neuroscience (IONS)

The ability to perceive pain is crucial for survival, but pain is also a major healthcare issue as its treatment constitutes a very problematic challenge for physicians. Because of its aversive quality and its high prevalence, chronic pain affects the quality of life of millions of individuals, and imposes a severe financial burden upon our societies. Therefore, progress in understanding the neural representation of pain in humans is not only important for basic neuroscience research. Indeed, it is also critical to develop effective strategies for the diagnosis and management of pathological pain conditions.

Recent publications

Reliability and measurement error of exercise-induced hypoalgesia in pain-free adults and adults with musculoskeletal pain: A systematic review.

Scand J Pain


Aron V, Strul D, Vaegter HB, Pitance L, Armijo-Olivo S

Responsiveness of multiple patient-reported outcome measures for acute postsurgical pain: primary results from the international multi-centre PROMPT NIT-1 study

Br J Anaesth


Vollert J, Segelcke D, Weinmann C, Schnabel K, Fuchtmann F, Rosenberger DC, Komann M, Maessen T, Sauer L, Kalso E, Fletcher D, Lavand'homme P, Kaiser U, Liedgens H, Meissner W, Pogatzki-Zahn EM

PROSPECT methodology for developing procedure-specific pain management recommendations: an update



Joshi GP, Albrecht E, Van de Velde M, Kehlet H, Lobo DN; PROSPECT Working Group of the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy

Intra-operative electroencephalogram frontal alpha-band spectral analysis and postoperative delirium in cardiac surgery: A prospective cohort study

Eur J Anaesthesiol


Khalifa C, Lenoir C, Robert A, Watremez C, Kahn D, Mastrobuoni S, Aphram G, Ivanoiu A, Bonhomme V, Mouraux A, Momeni M.

Systematic review and co-ordinate based meta-analysis to summarize the utilization of functional brain imaging in conjunction with human models of peripheral and central sensitization

Eur J Pain


Clarke S, Rogers R, Wanigasekera V, Fardo F, Pia H, Nochi Z, Macian N, Leray V, Finnerup NB, Pickering G, Mouraux A, Truini A, Treede RD, Garcia-Larrea L, Tracey I.

Modulation of the spinal N13 SEP component by high- and low-frequency electrical stimulation. Experimental pain models matter

Clinical Neurophysiology


Leone C, Di Pietro G, Salman Y, Galosi E, Di Stefano G, Caspani O, Garcia-Larrea L, Mouraux A, Treede RD, Truini A

Pain management after cardiac surgery via median sternotomy: A systematic review with procedure-specific postoperative pain management (PROSPECT) recommendations

Eur J Anaesthesiol


Maeßen T, Korir N, Van de Velde M, Kennes J, Pogatzki-Zahn E, Joshi GP; PROSPECT Working Group of the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy

Pinprick-induced gamma-band oscillations are not a useful electrophysiological marker of pinprick hypersensitivity in humans

Clin Neurophysiol


Gousset S, Torta DM, Mouraux A, Lambert J, van den Broeke EN.

Perioperative pain management for cleft palate surgery: a systematic review and procedure-specific postoperative pain management (PROSPECT) recommendations

Reg Anesth Pain Med


Suleiman NN, Luedi MM, Joshi G, Dewinter G, Wu CL, Sauter AR; PROSPECT Working Group

The role of ongoing oscillation in pain perception: Absence of modulation by a concomitant arithmetic task



Leu C, Courtin A, Cussac C, Liberati G.

Why Europe needs a pain research strategy

Eur J Pain


Pickering G, O'Keeffe M, Bannister K, Becker S, Cottom S, Cox FJ, Eisenberg E, Finn DP, Graven-Nielsen T, Meeus M, Mouraux A, Tölle T, Garcia-Larrea L, Fullen BM.

Poor pre-operative performance at Clock Drawing Test is associated with postoperative decline in olfaction in older patients: an observational pilot study

BMC Anesthesiology


Van Regemorter V, Coulie R, Dollase J, Momeni M, Stouffs A, Quenon L, Mouraux A, Huart C

Neuroscience research pain research EEG postoperative pain sensitization spinal cord neuroinflammation TMS EEG laser-evoked potentials research neuropathic

Basic, translational and clinical pain research at the Institute of Neuroscience (IoNS). Better understanding the neural processes underlying the perception of pain and developing novel means to diagnose and manage chronic pain conditions constitutes the core objective of several research groups and clinicians within our institute.

Research group led by André Mouraux (IONS/COSY)

Using non-invasive functional neuroimaging techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), combined with novel techniques to selectively activate specific classes of nociceptive afferents, the research performed by the team of André Mouraux follows two main axes. First, to understand how the human brain processes nociceptive sensory input and how this leads to the perception of pain. Second, to understand the plastic changes in nociceptive pathways that occur after inflammation, injury or sustained nociceptive input that induce peripheral and central sensitization and may underlie the development of chronic pain in humans.

Research group led by Valéry Legrain (IONS/COSY)

The main research interest of the team led by Valery Legrain is to understand the cognitive mechanisms modulating the link between nociception and the conscious perception of pain, and the neurobiological substrates of these cognitive mechanisms. Different approaches are used: neurophysiology (event-related brain potentials), cognitive psychology (mental chronometry) and neuropsychology (investigation of patients with sensory-motor or attentional deficits).

Research group led by Giulia Liberati (IONS/COSY)

The group of Giulia Liberati aims to characterize how transient and sustained pain are represented in the human brain, taking advantage of the high temporal and spatial resolution of intracerebral electroencephalography (iEEG). She is particularly interested in investigating the role of the human insula in nociception and pain perception, as several findings suggest that this brain region plays a crucial role in the integration of sensory, affective, and cognitive dimensions of pain.

Research team led by Emmanuel Hermans (IONS/CEMO)

The research group of Prof. Emmanuel Hermans has a long-standing expertise in the use of animal models to study the neuroinflammation and plastic changes of the central nervous system induced by neurotrauma, and its involvement in the development of neuropathic pain. His laboratory has experience in the production of animal models of neuropathic pain, the techniques used to study the pain behaviour of these animals, and the immune-histological techniques to characterize the glial activation and changes in nociceptive pathways at peripheral, spinal and supra-spinal level.

Clinical pain research at the University Hospital

At the Cliniques universitaires Saint Luc, the Department of Anaesthesiology is involved in several clinical research projects focusing on the problematic of chronic post-operative pain. The multidisciplinary Chronic Pain Consultation led by Prof. Anne Berquin is involved in clinical research projects aiming at improving the multidisciplinary management of patients with chronic pain, including the development of new psychophysical techniques to assess patients with neuropathic pain, new bio-psycho-social approaches for the care of patients with chronic regional pain syndrome and chronic widespread pain.


Institute of Neuroscience (IoNS)

53 Avenue Mounier, B1200, Brussels, Belgium

+32(0)2 764 54 47

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