Primary somatosensory cortex is actively involved in pain processing in human

Masutaro Kanda, Takashi Nagamine, Akio Ikeda, Shinji Ohara, Takeharu Kunieda, Naohito Fujiwara, Shogo Yazawa, Nobukatsu Sawamoto, Riki Matsumoto, Waro Taki, Hiroshi Shibasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Scopus citations


We recorded somatosensory evoked magnetic fields (SEFs) by a whole head magnetometer to elucidate cortical receptive areas involved in pain processing, focusing on the primary somatosensory cortex (SI), following painful CO2 laser stimulation of the dorsum of the left hand in 12 healthy human subjects. In seven subjects, three spatially segregated cortical areas (contralateral SI and bilateral second (SII) somatosensory cortices) were simultaneously activated at around 210 ms after the stimulus, suggesting parallel processing of pain information in SI and SII. Equivalent current dipole (ECD) in SI pointed anteriorly in three subjects whereas posteriorly in the remaining four. We also recorded SEFs following electric stimulation of the left median nerve at wrist in three subjects. ECD of CO2 laser stimulation was located medial-superior to that of electric stimulation in all three subjects. In addition, by direct recording of somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) from peri-Rolandic cortex by subdural electrodes in an epilepsy patient, we identified a response to the laser stimulation over the contralateral SI with the peak latency of 220 ms. Its distribution was similar to, but slightly wider than, that of P25 of electric SEPs. Taken together, it is postulated that the pain impulse is received in the crown of the postcentral gyrus in human. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-289
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 24 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Human
  • Magnetoencephalogram
  • Pain perception
  • Parallel processing
  • Primary somatosensory cortex (SI)
  • Subdural recording

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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