Thalamic Burst Firing in Response to Experimental Pain Stimuli and in Patients with Chronic Neuropathic Pain may be a Carrier for Pain-Related Signals

T. M. Markman, C. C. Liu, J. C. Zhang, K. Kobayashi, J. H. Kim, F. A. Lenz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


We review evidence of the nature of pain and cognitive task-related activity in the region of the principal somatic sensory nucleus of the human thalamus. Spike trains with both low threshold spike (LTS) bursts and single spike firing (I category firing pattern) is more likely to respond to the pain evoked by the cutaneous laser stimulus. These spike trains are also more likely to change category when the cognitive task changes.I category firing is also more common in the representation of the painful part of the body in the patients with neuropathic pain. In this population, pre-burst inhibitions are much longer, perhaps consistent with a GABAb conductance. Therefore, I category firing in thalamic modules may be a gate which enables both the response to the painful laser and the transmission of that response to the cortex. Since the I firing pattern is associated with inhibitory events of GABAb duration leading to LTS bursts, these results might be exploited by therapies targeting thalamic GABAergic transmission or LTS channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationChronic Pain and Brain Abnormalities
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780123983893
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013



  • Human
  • Laser
  • Local field potentials
  • Low threshold spike (LTS) bursts
  • Neuronal
  • Pain
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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