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J Neurophysiol. 1994 Aug;72(2):542-64.

Somatosensory, multisensory, and task-related neurons in cortical area 7b (PF) of unanesthetized monkeys.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle 98195.

Abstract

1. The goal of this study was to quantitatively characterize the response properties of somatosensory and multisensory neurons in cortical area 7b (or PF) of monkeys that were behaviorally trained to perform an appetitive tolerance-escape task. Particular emphasis was given to characterizing nociceptive thermal responses and correlating such responses to thermal pain tolerance as measured by escape frequency. 2. A total of 244 neurons that responded to somatosensory stimulation alone or to both somatosensory and visual stimulation (multisensory) were isolated and studied in the trigeminal region of cortical area 7b. Thirty neurons responded only to visual stimulation. Thermoreceptive neurons formed approximately 13% (31 of 244) of the neurons that had somatosensory response properties. Thermal nociceptive neurons made up approximately 9% (21 of 244) of the neurons that had somatosensory response properties or approximately 68% (21 of 31) of the neurons that had thermoreceptive response properties. Thermal nociceptive neurons responded either exclusively to noxious thermal stimuli (high-threshold thermoreceptive, HTT) or differentially to nonnoxious and noxious thermal stimuli (wide-range thermoreceptive, WRT). Multimodal HTT neurons had nonnociceptive (low-threshold mechanoreceptive, LTM) and/or nociceptive (nociceptive-specific, wide-dynamic-range) mechanical receptive fields, whereas multimodal WRT neurons had only nonnociceptive (LTM) mechanical receptive fields. Thermal nonnociceptive neurons (low-threshold thermoreceptive, LTT) made up approximately 3% (8 of 244) of the neurons that had somatosensory properties or approximately 26% (8 of 31) of the neurons that were thermoreceptive. The background discharge of two thermoreceptive neurons (6%, 2 of 31) was inhibited by innocuous thermal stimulation. 3. Thermal nociceptive neurons (HTT and WRT) were functionally differentiated by statistical analyses into subpopulations that did encode (HTT-EN, WRT-EN) and did not encode (HTT-NE, WRT-NE) the magnitude of noxious thermal stimulus intensities. The mean slopes and median regression coefficients for the stimulus-response (S-R) functions of HTT-EN and WRT-EN neurons, respectively, were significantly greater than those for the S-R functions of HTT-NE and WRT-NE neurons. In contrast to HTT-NE and WRT-NE neurons, HTT-EN and WRT-EN neurons reliably encoded the magnitude of noxious thermal intensity by grading their mean discharge frequency. 4. The S-R functions of HTT-EN and WRT-EN neurons, unlike those of HTT-NE and WRT-NE neurons, closely approximated stimulus intensity-escape frequency functions.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

PMID:
7983518
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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