We explored the region of human thalamic somatic sensory nucleus (ventral caudal, Vc) with threshold microstimulation during stereotactic procedures for the treatment of tremor (124 thalami, 116 patients). Warm sensations were evoked more frequently in the posterior region than in the core. Proportion of sites where microstimulation evoked cool and pain sensations was not different between the core and the posterior region. In the core, sites where both thermal and pain sensations were evoked were distributed similarly in the medial two planes and the lateral plane. In the posterior region, however, warm sensations were evoked more frequently in the lateral plane (10.8%) than in the medial planes (3.9%). No mediolateral difference was found for sites where pain and cool sensations were evoked. The presence of sites where stimulation evoked taste or where receptive and projected fields were located on the pharynx were used as landmarks of a plane located as medial as the posterior part of the ventral medial nucleus (VMpo). Microstimulation in this plane evoked cool, warm, and pain sensations. The results suggest that thermal and pain sensations are processed in the region of Vc as far medial as VMpo. Thermal and pain sensations seem to be mediated by neural elements in a region likely including the core of Vc, VMpo, and other nuclei posterior and inferior to Vc.
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