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Touch inhibits touch: sanshool-induced paradoxical tingling reveals perceptual interaction between somatosensory submodalities

Cataldo, A; Hagura, N; Hyder, Y; Haggard, P; (2021) Touch inhibits touch: sanshool-induced paradoxical tingling reveals perceptual interaction between somatosensory submodalities. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 288 (1943) , Article 20202914. 10.1098/rspb.2020.2914. Green open access

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Abstract

Human perception of touch is mediated by inputs from multiple channels. Classical theories postulate independent contributions of each channel to each tactile feature, with little or no interaction between channels. In contrast to this view, we show that inputs from two sub-modalities of mechanical input channels interact to determine tactile perception. The flutter-range vibration channel was activated anomalously using hydroxy-α-sanshool, a bioactive compound of Szechuan pepper, which chemically induces vibration-like tingling sensations. We tested whether this tingling sensation on the lips was modulated by sustained mechanical pressure. Across four experiments, we show that sustained touch inhibits sanshool tingling sensations in a location-specific, pressure-level and time-dependent manner. Additional experiments ruled out the mediation of this interaction by nociceptive or affective (C-tactile) channels. These results reveal novel inhibitory influence from steady pressure onto flutter-range tactile perceptual channels, consistent with early-stage interactions between mechanoreceptor inputs within the somatosensory pathway.

Type: Article
Title: Touch inhibits touch: sanshool-induced paradoxical tingling reveals perceptual interaction between somatosensory submodalities
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2020.2914
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2020.2914
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: hydroxy-α-sanshool, SA mechanoreceptors, RA mechanoreceptors, mechanoreceptor channel, tactile perception, Szechuan pepper
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10120504
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