The correlation of monkey medullary dorsal horn neuronal activity and the perceived intensity of noxious heat stimuli.


Journal Article

1. We examined the relationship between the activity of medullary dorsal horn nociceptive neurons and the monkeys' ability to detect noxious heat stimuli. In two different detection tasks, the temperature of a contact thermode positioned on the monkey's face increased from 38 degrees C to temperatures between 44 and 48 degrees C (T1). After a variable time period, the thermode temperature increased an additional 0.2-1.5 degrees C (T2), and the monkeys' detection speed from the onset of T2 was determined. We previously have established that detection speed is a measure of the perceived intensity of noxious thermal stimuli. Nociceptive neurons were classified as wide-dynamic-range (WDR, responsive to innocuous mechanical stimuli with greater responses to noxious mechanical stimuli) and nociceptive-specific (NS, responsive only to noxious stimuli). WDR neurons were subclassified as WDR1 and WDR2 based on the higher slope values of the stimulus-response functions of WDR1 neurons. The monkeys were trained to detect small increases in noxious heat, and their detection speeds were correlated with the responses of WDR1, WDR2, and NS neurons. 2. Detection speeds to T2 temperatures of 1.0 degrees C from preceding T1 temperatures of 45 and 46 degrees C were faster during a preceding ascending series of stimuli than during a descending series. Similarly, the peak discharge frequencies of WDR1 neurons in response to the same stimuli were greater during the ascending series of T2 temperatures. In contrast, the responses of WDR2 and NS neurons showed no significant differences during the ascending and descending series of stimuli. 3. Detection speeds following 0.4, 0.6, and 0.8 degrees C T2 stimuli were higher when the preceding T1 temperature was 46 degrees C as compared with detection speeds to the identical stimuli when the preceding T1 temperature was 45 degrees C. WDR1 neurons also exhibited a significant increase in peak discharge frequency to these same T2 stimuli when the preceding T1 temperature was 46 degrees C. In contrast, the neuronal activity of WDR2 and NS neurons did not differ on 45 and 46 degrees C T1 trials. 4. The relationship between detection speed and neuronal peak discharge frequency was examined in response to different pairs of T1 and T2 stimuli when T1 was either 45 or 46 degrees C. There was a significant correlation between detection speed and neuronal discharge for WDR1 and WDR2 neurons. No correlation was observed for NS neurons. 5. The magnitude of neuronal activity on correctly detected and nondetected trials was compared when T1 was 46 degrees C and T2 was 0.2 degree C.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dubner, R; Kenshalo, DR; Maixner, W; Bushnell, MC; Oliveras, JL

Published Date

  • August 1, 1989

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 62 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 450 - 457

PubMed ID

  • 2769341

Pubmed Central ID

  • 2769341

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3077

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1152/jn.1989.62.2.450


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States