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Science. 2003 Oct 3;302(5642):117-9.

Thalamic control of visceral nociception mediated by T-type Ca2+ channels.

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  • 1National Creative Research Initiative Center for Calcium and Learning, Korea Institutes of Science and Technology, Seoul 136-791, Korea.


Sensations from viscera, like fullness, easily become painful if the stimulus persists. Mice lacking alpha1G T-type Ca2+ channels show hyperalgesia to visceral pain. Thalamic infusion of a T-type blocker induced similar hyperalgesia in wild-type mice. In response to visceral pain, the ventroposterolateral thalamic neurons evokeda surge of single spikes, which then slowly decayed as T type-dependent burst spikes gradually increased. In alpha1G-deficient neurons, the single-spike response persisted without burst spikes. These results indicate that T-type Ca2+ channels underlie an antinociceptive mechanism operating in the thalamus andsupport the idea that burst firing plays a critical role in sensory gating in the thalamus.

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