The effect of conditioning stimulation of a peripheral nerve on responses of spinal neurons (dorsal horn cells and motoneurons) was studied in 16 decerebrate-spinal cats. The activity of dorsal horn cells was recorded with a microelectrode at the lumbosacral spinal cord and the single-unit activity of motoneurons was recorded from a filament of ventral rootlet divided from either the L7 or S1 ventral root. The responses of spinal neurons were evoked by noxious and innocuous mechanical stimuli and by noxious thermal stimuli applied to the receptive fields. The peripheral conditioning stimulation was applied to the tibial nerve with repetitive electrical pulses (2 Hz) at an intensity either suprathreshold for Aδ or C fibers for 5 min. Applying conditioning stimulation to a peripheral nerve produced a powerful inhibition of the responses elicited by noxious stimuli, suggesting this inhibition is an antinociceptive effect. The inhibition produced by peripheral conditioning stimulation was differentially greater on the responses to noxious than to innocuous stimuli. Based on the results obtained from conditioning stimulation with graded strengths, afferent inputs from both myelinated and unmyelinated fibers seem to contribute to the production of the antinociceptive effect. The magnitude of the antinociceptive effect is bigger for the responses to noxious thermal than to mechanical stimuli. Furthermore, the reflex activity recorded in motor axons seemed to be more sensitive than in dorsal horn cells to the antinociceptive effect.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience