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Brain Res Bull. 1994;34(6):575-85.

The dorsal raphe: an important nucleus in pain modulation.

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Department of Neurobiology, Shanghai Medical University, China.


The dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) is an important nucleus in pain modulation. It has abundant 5-HT neurons and many other neurotransmitter and/or neuromodulator containing neurons. Its vast fiber connections to other parts of the central nervous system provide a morphological basis for its pain modulating function. Its descending projections, via the nucleus raphe magnus or directly, modulate the responses caused by noxious stimulation of the spinal dorsal horn neurons. In ascending projections, it directly modulates the responses of pain sensitive neurons in the thalamus. It can also be involved in analgesia effects induced by the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. Neurophysiologic and neuropharmacologic results suggest that 5-HT neurons and ENKergic neurons in the DRN are pain inhibitory, and GABA neurons are the opposite. The studies of the intrinsic synapses between ENKergic neurons, GABAergic neurons, and 5-HT neurons within the DRN throw light on their relations in pain modulation functions, and further explain their functions in pain mediation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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