Duodenal afferent input converges onto T9-T10 spinal neurons responding to gastric distension in rats

Chao Qin, Jiande D.Z. Chen, Jing Zhang, Robert D. Foreman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Clinically, the overlap of gastroduodenal symptoms, such as visceral pain or hypersensitivity, is often observed in functional gastrointestinal disorders. The underlying mechanism may be related to intraspinal neuronal processing of noxious convergent inputs from the stomach and the intestine. The purpose of this study was to examine whether single low thoracic (T9-T10) spinal neurons responded to both gastric and duodenal mechanical stimulation. Extracellular potentials of single T9-T10 spinal neurons were recorded in pentobarbital anesthetized, paralyzed, and ventilated male rats. Graded gastric distensions (GD, 20, 40, 60 mm Hg, 20 s) were induced by air inflation of a latex balloon surgically placed in the stomach. Graded duodenal distensions (DD, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6 ml, 20 s) were produced by water inflation of a latex balloon placed into the duodenum. Of 70 deeper (depth from dorsal surface of spinal cord: 0.3-1.2 mm) spinal neurons responsive to noxious GD (≥ 40 mm Hg), 44(63%) also responded to noxious DD (≥ 0.4 ml). Similarly, 13/17 (76%) superficial neurons (depth < 0.3 mm) responded to both GD and DD. Of 57 gastroduodenal convergent neurons, 41 (72%) had excitatory and 6 had inhibitory responses to both GD and DD; the remaining neurons exhibited multiple patterns of excitation and inhibition. 43/57 (75%) gastroduodenal convergent neurons had low-threshold (≤ 20 mm Hg) responses to GD, whereas 42/57 (74%) of these neurons had high-threshold (≥ 0.4 ml) responses to DD. In addition, 34/40 (85%) gastroduodenal convergent neurons had somatic receptive fields on the back, flank, and medial/lateral abdominal areas. These results suggested that superficial and deeper T9-T10 spinal neurons received innocuous and/or noxious convergent inputs from mechanical stimulation of the stomach and duodenum. Gastroduodenal convergent spinal neurons might contribute to intraspinal sensory transmission for cross-organ afferent-afferent communication between the stomach and duodenum and play a role in visceral nociception and reflexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-187
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 19 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Duodenum
  • Spinal cord
  • Spinal visceral afferent
  • Stomach
  • Visceral pain
  • Visceral reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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