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Whole-body mapping of spatial acuity for pain and touch

Mancini, F; Bauleo, A; Cole, J; Lui, F; Porro, CA; Haggard, P; Iannetti, GD; (2014) Whole-body mapping of spatial acuity for pain and touch. Ann Neurol , 75 (6) pp. 917-924. 10.1002/ana.24179. Green open access

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Abstract

Tactile spatial acuity is routinely tested in neurology to assess the state of the dorsal column system. In contrast, spatial acuity for pain is not assessed, having never been systematically characterised. More than a century after the initial description of tactile acuity across the body, we provide the first systematic whole-body mapping of spatial acuity for pain. We evaluated the two-point discrimination thresholds for both nociceptive-selective and tactile stimuli across several skin regions. Thresholds were estimated using pairs of simultaneous stimuli, and also using successive stimuli. These two approaches produced convergent results. The fingertip was the area of highest spatial acuity, for both pain and touch. On the glabrous skin of the hand, the gradient of spatial acuity for pain followed that observed for touch. On the hairy skin of the upper limb, spatial acuity for pain and touch followed opposite proximal-distal gradients, consistent with the known innervation density of this body territory. Finally, by testing spatial acuity for pain in a rare participant completely lacking Aβ fibers, we demonstrate that spatial acuity for pain does not rely on a functioning system of tactile primary afferents. ANN NEUROL 2014. © 2014 American Neurological Association.

Type: Article
Title: Whole-body mapping of spatial acuity for pain and touch
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/ana.24179
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.24179
Additional information: © 2014 The Authors; Annals of Neurology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Neurological Association. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Neuro, Physiology and Pharmacology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1427599
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