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Neuron. 2007 Aug 2;55(3):377-91.

The cerebral signature for pain perception and its modulation.

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  • 1Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, Clinical Neurology and Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics, Oxford University, OX3 9DU Oxford, England, UK. irene@fmrib.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

Our understanding of the neural correlates of pain perception in humans has increased significantly since the advent of neuroimaging. Relating neural activity changes to the varied pain experiences has led to an increased awareness of how factors (e.g., cognition, emotion, context, injury) can separately influence pain perception. Tying this body of knowledge in humans to work in animal models of pain provides an opportunity to determine common features that reliably contribute to pain perception and its modulation. One key system that underpins the ability to change pain intensity is the brainstem's descending modulatory network with its pro- and antinociceptive components. We discuss not only the latest data describing the cerebral signature of pain and its modulation in humans, but also suggest that the brainstem plays a pivotal role in gating the degree of nociceptive transmission so that the resultant pain experienced is appropriate for the particular situation of the individual.

PMID:
17678852
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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