, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 213-226

Descending control of spinal nociceptive transmission. Actions produced on spinal multireceptive neurones from the nuclei locus coeruleus (LC) and raphe magnus (NRM)

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Summary

The effects of electrical stimulation in the nuclei locus coeruleus (LC) and raphe magnus (NRM) were examined on the background and/or evoked discharge of neurones in the spinal dorsal horn of anaesthetized cats. These were qualitatively, and in most cases quantitatively similar, in their action on multireceptive neurones. In these neurones an inhibitory action on the discharge evoked by noxious cutaneous stimuli or by activation of Aδ and C fibres was most prominent although in some neurones (22%) an initial excitation lasting up to 100 ms preceded the inhibition which could last up to 1 s. Excitation alone was observed in only 3% of multireceptive neurones. Electrical stimulation also produced an inhibitory action on the discharge of low threshold mechanoreceptive neurones (80%). In four of ten multireceptive neurones examined in detail, LC stimulation produced a selective inhibitory action on the discharge evoked by noxious cutaneous stimuli. In the remaining six multireceptive neurones it was partially selective against noxious as compared with non-noxious inputs. The inhibitory action was also more pronounced on the discharge evoked by activity in Aδ and C fibres than fast conducting afferents. The inhibitory action evoked by electrical stimulation in LC on nociceptive transmission in the spinal cord is suggested to play a part in mediating analgesia from LC.