Interactions Between Cardiovascular and Pain Regulatory Systems

  • Alan Randich


This chapter discusses interactions between cardiovascular and pain regulatory systems. The term “interaction” is used broadly to describe a number of relationships that exist between these systems. Some aspects of these relationships have been well studied, but aspects critical to understanding the nature of interactions between cardiovascular and pain regulatory systems are poorly understood. For example, it has been known for more than 100 years that circulatory responses are produced by noxious stimuli that activate either Group III or Group IV afferents (Howell, 1894; Hunt, 1895; Ranson and Billingsley, 1916). Yet, beyond the fundamental characterization of this phenomenon for virtually every somatic or visceral afferent in the body, we know virtually nothing about central nervous system (CNS) nuclei and pathways that mediate circulatory responses produced by noxious stimuli. Other relationships are less well studied, but hold great potential for understanding interactions between cardiovascular and pain regulatory systems. For example, cells in the raphe nuclei apparently receive convergent indirect input from both vagal afferents and spinal nociceptive afferents, and activity of some of these cells is correlated with both arterial blood pressure (ABP) and nociception (Fields et al., 1983a,b; Thurston and Randich, 1991; Yen and Blum, 1984).


Cardiovascular Response Carotid Sinus Depressor Response Lateral Reticular Nucleus Nucleus Raphe Magnus 
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  • Alan Randich

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