Painful stimuli evoke potentials recorded from the medial temporal lobe in humans

C. C. Liu, S. Ohara, P. Franaszczuk, N. Zagzoog, M. Gallagher, F. A. Lenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The role of human medial temporal structures in fear conditioning has led to the suggestion that neurons in these structures might respond to painful stimuli. We have now tested the hypothesis that recordings from these structures will demonstrate potentials related to the selective activation of cutaneous nociceptors by a painful laser stimulus (laser evoked potential, LEP) (Kenton B, Coger R, Crue B, Pinsky J, Friedman Y, Carmon A (1980) Neurosci Lett 17:301-306). Recordings were carried out through electrodes implanted bilaterally in these structures for the investigation of intractable epilepsy. Reproducible LEPs were commonly recorded both bilaterally and unilaterally, while LEPs were recorded at contacts on the left (9/14, P=0.257) as commonly as on the right (5/14), independent of the hand stimulated. Along electrodes traversing the amygdala the majority of LEPs were recorded from dorsal contacts near the central nucleus of the amygdala and the nucleus basalis. Stimulus evoked changes in theta activity were observed at contacts on the right at which isolated early negative LEPs (N2*) responses could be recorded. Contacts at which LEPs could be recorded were as commonly located in medial temporal structures with evidence of seizure activity as on those without. These results demonstrate the presence of pain-related inputs to the medial temporal lobe where they may be involved in associative learning to produce anxiety and disability related to painful stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1402-1411
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 17 2010


  • amygdala
  • hippocampal theta
  • hippocampus
  • human
  • laser evoked potential
  • pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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