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Pain. 2010 Dec;151(3):853-61. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2010.09.028. Epub 2010 Oct 20.

Baroreceptor activation attenuates attentional effects on pain-evoked potentials.

Author information

1
Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 9RR, UK. Marcus.Gray@Monash.edu

Abstract

Focused attention typically enhances neural nociceptive responses, reflected electroencephalographically as increased amplitude of pain-evoked event-related potentials (ERPs). Additionally, pain-evoked ERPs are attenuated by hypertension and baroreceptor activity, through as yet unclear mechanisms. There is indirect evidence that these two effects may interact, suggesting that baroreceptor-related modulation of nociception is more than a low-level gating phenomenon. To address this hypothesis, we explored in a group of healthy participants the combined effects of cue-induced expectancy and baroreceptor activity on the amplitude of pain-evoked ERPs. Brief nociceptive skin stimuli were delivered during a simple visual task; half were preceded by a visual forewarning cue, and half were unpredictable. Nociceptive stimuli were timed to coincide either with systole (maximum activation of cardiac baroreceptors) or with diastole (minimum baroreceptor activation). We observed a strong interaction between expectancy and cardiac timing for the amplitude of the P2 ERP component; no effects were observed for the N2 component. Cued stimuli were associated with larger P2 amplitude, but this effect was abolished for stimuli presented during baroreceptor activation. No cardiac timing effect was observed for un-cued stimuli. Taken together, these findings suggest a close integration of cognitive-affective aspects of expectancy and baroreceptor influences on pain, and as such may cast further light on mechanisms underlying mental and physiological contributions to clinical pain.

PMID:
20965656
PMCID:
PMC3038268
DOI:
10.1016/j.pain.2010.09.028
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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