Transient inhibition of responses to thermal stimuli of spinal sensory tract neurons in monkeys during sensitization by intradermal capsaicin

P. M. Dougherty, W. D. Willis, Frederick Lenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A secondary zone of cutaneous hyperalgesia in humans is characterized by increased pain to mechanical stimuli. In contrast, the perception of heat stimuli delivered to a secondary zone of hyperalgesia in humans often shows a paradoxical decrease in magnitude. A number of studies have shown that the responses of spinal cord neurons to cutaneous mechanical stimuli after peripheral injury model well the mechanical hyperalgesia. However, the responses of dorsal horn neurons to thermal stimuli after peripheral injury have not been as carefully studied. The present study examined the effects of intradermal capsaicin on the responses of spinal sensory projection neurons to cutaneous mechanical and thermal stimuli. Our observations indicate that the responses of identified sensory projection neurons to heat are transiently reduced at the same time that responses of these cells to mechanical stimuli are increased. These results confirm a role for sensory projection cells in signaling the sensory discriminative aspects of pain in humans and underscore the emerging complexity of dorsal horn circuitry and sensory processing. Copyright (C) 1998 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes



  • Hyperalgesia
  • Primates
  • Spinomesencephalic
  • Spinothalamic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this