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Pain. 1997 Aug;72(1-2):127-35.

Inhibitory effects of electrically evoked activation of ventrolateral orbital cortex on the tail-flick reflex are mediated by periaqueductal gray in rats.

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Research Laboratory of Neurophysiology, Xi'an Medical University, Shaanxi, People's Republic of China.


The present study found in lightly anesthetized rats that the radiant heat-evoked tail flick (TF) reflex was markedly inhibited by a unilateral electrical stimulation (a 20 ms train of 0.2 ms, 100 Hz, 30-100 microA pulses) of the ventrolateral orbital cortex (VLO), with the tail flick latency (TFL) being increased. The mean threshold of VLO stimulation for producing inhibition of the TF reflex was 39.2 +/- 8.7 microA (n = 26), and this inhibitory effect increased following increasing stimulation intensity from 40 to 70 microA. The inhibition developed and remained during the stimulation and disappeared rapidly after termination of the stimulation. When the VLO was stimulated at an intensity of 100 microA in addition to the inhibition an after-facilitation of the TF reflex (a decrease in TFL) was observed at 5-10 s after termination of the stimulation. Bilateral electrolytic lesions of the lateral or ventrolateral parts of the periaqueductal gray matter (PAG) dramatically reduced or eliminated the VLO-evoked inhibition, and the after-facilitation as well. The difference was significant between the TFL changes produced by VLO stimulation before and after PAG lesion (P < 0.01). The results suggest that the antinociception elicited by VLO stimulation is mediated by PAG, leading to activation of the brainstem descending inhibitory system which depresses the nociceptive transmission at the spinal level. The role played by VLO in pain modulation was discussed in association with the proposed endogenous analgesic system consisting of spinal cord-Sm-VLO-PAG-spinal cord.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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