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Neurosci Lett. 2007 May 29;419(2):147-52. Epub 2007 Apr 18.

Superficial dorsal horn neurons with double spike activity in the rat.

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Departamento de Neurobiología del Desarrollo y Neurofisiología, Instituto de Neurobiología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Campus Juriquilla, Querétaro 76230, Mexico.


Superficial dorsal horn neurons promote the transfer of nociceptive information from the periphery to supraspinal structures. The membrane and discharge properties of spinal cord neurons can alter the reliability of peripheral signals. In this paper, we analyze the location and response properties of a particular class of dorsal horn neurons that exhibits double spike discharge with a very short interspike interval (2.01+/-0.11 ms). These neurons receive nociceptive C-fiber input and are located in laminae I-II. Double spikes are generated spontaneously or by depolarizing current injection (interval of 2.37+/-0.22). Cells presenting double spike (interval 2.28+/-0.11) increased the firing rate by electrical noxious stimulation, as well as, in the first minutes after carrageenan injection into their receptive field. Carrageenan is a polysaccharide soluble in water and it is used for producing an experimental model of semi-chronic pain. In the present study carrageenan also produces an increase in the interval between double spikes and then, reduced their occurrence after 5-10 min. The results suggest that double spikes are due to intrinsic membrane properties and that their frequency is related to C-fiber nociceptive activity. The present work shows evidence that double spikes in superficial spinal cord neurones are related to the nociceptive stimulation, and they are possibly part of an acute pain-control mechanism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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