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J Neurophysiol. 2011 Nov;106(5):2515-22. doi: 10.1152/jn.00719.2010. Epub 2011 Aug 10.

Inhibition of spinal cord dorsal horn neuronal activity by electrical stimulation of the cerebellar cortex.

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Dept. of Psychology, Univ. of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019-0528, USA.


The cerebellum plays a major role in not only modulating motor activity, but also contributing to other functions, including nociception. The intermediate hemisphere of the cerebellum receives sensory input from the limbs. With the extensive connection between the cerebellum to brain-stem structures and cerebral cortex, it is possible that the cerebellum may facilitate the descending system to modulate spinal dorsal horn activity. This study provided the first evidence to support this hypothesis. Thirty-one wide-dynamic-range neurons from the left lumbar and 27 from the right lumbar spinal dorsal horn were recorded in response to graded mechanical stimulation (brush, pressure, and pinch) at the hind paws. Electrical stimulation of the cerebellar cortex of the left intermediate hemisphere significantly reduced spinal cord dorsal horn neuron-evoked responses bilaterally in response to peripheral high-intensity mechanical stimuli. It is concluded that the cerebellum may play a potential antinociceptive role, probably through activating descending inhibitory pathways indirectly.

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