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Cochlear SGN neurons elevate pain thresholds in response to music.

Dunbar, RIM; Pearce, E; Tarr, B; Makdani, A; Bamford, J; Smith, S; McGlone, F; (2021) Cochlear SGN neurons elevate pain thresholds in response to music. Scientific Reports , 11 , Article 14547. 10.1038/s41598-021-93969-0. Green open access

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Abstract

The C-tactile (CLTM) peripheral nervous system is involved in social bonding in primates and humans through its capacity to trigger the brain’s endorphin system. Since the mammalian cochlea has an unusually high density of similar neurons (type-II spiral ganglion neurons, SGNs), we hypothesise that their function may have been exploited for social bonding by co-opting head movements in response to music and other rhythmic movements of the head in social contexts. Music provides one of many cultural behavioural mechanisms for ‘virtual grooming’ in that it is used to trigger the endorphin system with many people simultaneously so as to bond both dyadic relationships and large groups. Changes in pain threshold across an activity are a convenient proxy assay for endorphin uptake in the brain, and we use this, in two experiments, to show that pain thresholds are higher when nodding the head than when sitting still.

Type: Article
Title: Cochlear SGN neurons elevate pain thresholds in response to music.
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-93969-0
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-93969-0
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Auditory system; Cochlea; Neuroscience
UCL classification: UCL
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 > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10131873
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