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Compr Physiol. 2015 Apr;5(2):929-60. doi: 10.1002/cphy.c140032.

Mechanisms of cardiac pain.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma, USA.

Abstract

Angina pectoris is cardiac pain that typically is manifested as referred pain to the chest and upper left arm. Atypical pain to describe localization of the perception, generally experienced more by women, is referred to the back, neck, and/or jaw. This article summarizes the neurophysiological and pharmacological mechanisms for referred cardiac pain. Spinal cardiac afferent fibers mediate typical anginal pain via pathways from the spinal cord to the thalamus and ultimately cerebral cortex. Spinal neurotransmission involves substance P, glutamate, and transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 (TRPV1) receptors; release of neurokinins such as nuclear factor kappa b (NF-kb) in the spinal cord can modulate neurotransmission. Vagal cardiac afferent fibers likely mediate atypical anginal pain and contribute to cardiac ischemia without accompanying pain via relays through the nucleus of the solitary tract and the C1-C2 spinal segments. The psychological state of an individual can modulate cardiac nociception via pathways involving the amygdala. Descending pathways originating from nucleus raphe magnus and the pons also can modulate cardiac nociception. Sensory input from other visceral organs can mimic cardiac pain due to convergence of this input with cardiac input onto spinothalamic tract neurons. Reduction of converging nociceptive input from the gallbladder and gastrointestinal tract can diminish cardiac pain. Much work remains to be performed to discern the interactions among complex neural pathways that ultimately produce or do not produce the sensations associated with cardiac pain.

PMID:
25880519
DOI:
10.1002/cphy.c140032
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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