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Exp Neurol. 2006 Jul;200(1):124-34. Epub 2006 Apr 17.

Dynamic neuronal responses in cortical and thalamic areas during different phases of formalin test in rats.

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Neuroscience Research Institute, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, China.


Although formalin-induced activity in primary afferent fibers and spinal dorsal horn is well described, the forebrain neural basis underlying each phase of behavior in formalin test has not yet been clarified. The present study was designed to investigate the cortical and thalamic neuronal responses and interactions among forebrain areas during different phases after subcutaneous injection of formalin. Formalin-induced neuronal activities were simultaneously recorded from primary somatosensory cortex (SI), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and medial dorsal (MD) and ventral posterior (VP) thalamus during different phases (i.e., first phase, interphase, second phase and third recovery phase starting from 70 min after injection) of formalin test, using a multi-channel, single-unit recording technique. Our results showed that, (i) unlike the responses in primary afferent fibers and spinal dorsal horn, many forebrain neurons displayed monophasic excitatory responses in the first hour after formalin injection, except a small portion of neurons which exhibited biphasic responses; (ii) the response patterns of many cortical and thalamic neurons changed from excitatory to inhibitory at the end of the second phase; (iii) the direction of information flow also changed dramatically, i.e., from cortex to thalamus and from the medial to the lateral pathway in the first hour, but reversed in phase 3. These results indicate that the changes of activity pattern in forebrain networks may underlie the emerging and subsiding of central sensitization-induced pain behavior in the second phase of formalin test.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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