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Human brain responses to concomitant stimulation of Aδ and C nociceptors

Hu, L; Cai, MM; Xiao, P; Luo, F; Iannetti, GD; (2014) Human brain responses to concomitant stimulation of Aδ and C nociceptors. Journal of Neuroscience , 34 (34) pp. 11439-11451. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1355-14.2014. Green open access

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Abstract

Intense radiant heat pulses concomitantly activate Aδ- and C-fiber skin nociceptors, and elicit a typical double sensation: an initial Aδ-related pricking pain is followed by a C-related prolonged burning sensation. It has been repeatedly reported that C-fiber laser-evoked potentials (C-LEPs) become detectable only when the concomitant activation of Aδ-fibers is avoided or reduced. Given that the saliency of the eliciting stimulus is a major determinant of LEPs, one explanation for these observations is that the saliency of the C-input is smaller than that of the preceding Aδ-input. However, even if the saliency of the C-input is reduced because of the preceding Aδ-input, a C-LEP should still be visible even when preceded by an Aδ-LEP response. Here we tested this hypothesis by applying advanced signal processing techniques (peak alignment and time-frequency decomposition) to electroencephalographic data collected in two experiments conducted in 34 and 96 healthy participants. We show that, when using optimal stimulus parameters (delivering >80 stimuli within a small skin territory), C-LEPs can be reliably detected in most participants. Importantly, C-LEPs are observed even when preceded by Aδ-LEPs, both in average waveforms and single trials. By providing quantitative information about several response properties of C-LEPs (latency jitter, stimulus-response and perception-response functions, dependency on stimulus repetitions and stimulated area), these results define optimal parameters to record C-LEPs simply and reliably. These findings have important clinical implications for assessing small-fiber function in neuropathies and neuropathic pain.

Type: Article
Title: Human brain responses to concomitant stimulation of Aδ and C nociceptors
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1355-14.2014
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1355-14.2014
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2014 Hu et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, whichpermitsunrestricteduse,distributionandreproductioninany medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.
Keywords: Aδ-fibers, C-fibers, evoked potentials, first pain, nociception, second pain, Adolescent, Adult, Brain, Electroencephalography, Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory, Female, Humans, Lasers, Male, Nerve Fibers, Myelinated, Nerve Fibers, Unmyelinated, Nociceptors, Pain, Psychophysics, Reaction Time, Young Adult
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 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/1458181
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