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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 24;8(6):e67655. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067655. eCollection 2013.

Discrete pattern of burst stimulation in the ventrobasal thalamus for anti-nociception.

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Center for Neural Science, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul, Korea.


The thalamus has been proposed to play a role in sensory modulation via switching between tonic and burst dual firing of individual neurons. Of the two firing modes, altered burst firing has been repeatedly implicated with pathological pain conditions, which suggests that maintaining a certain form of thalamic burst could be crucial for controlling pain. However, specific elements of burst firing that may contribute to pain control have not yet been actively investigated. Utilizing the deep brain stimulation (DBS) technique, we explored the effects of bursting properties in pain control by electrically stimulating the ventrobasal (VB) thalamus in forms of burst patterned to test different aspects of bursts during the formalin induced nociception in mice. Our results demonstrated that electrical stimulations mimicking specific burst firing properties are important in producing an anti-nociceptive effect and found that the ≤ 3 ms interval between burst pluses (intra-burst-interval: IntraBI) and ≥ 3 pulses per burst were required to reliably reduce formalin induced nociceptive responses in mice. Periodicity of IntraBI was also suggested to contribute to anti-nociception to a limited extent.

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