Mechanical sensibility of nociceptive and non-nociceptive fast-conducting afferents is modulated by skin temperature.

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【作者】 Mer?é Boada  James C Eisenach  Douglas Gordon Ririe 

【摘要】The ability to distinguish mechanical from thermal input is a critical component of peripheral somatosensory function. Polymodal C fibers respond to both stimuli. However, mechanosensitive, modality-specific fast-conducting tactile and nociceptor afferents theoretically carry information only about mechanical forces independent of the thermal environment. We hypothesize that the thermal environment can nonetheless modulate mechanical force sensibility in fibers that do not respond directly to change in temperature. To study this, fast-conducting mechanosensitive peripheral sensory fibers in male Sprague-Dawley rats were accessed at the soma in the dorsal root ganglia from T11 or L4/L5. Neuronal identification was performed using receptive field characteristics and passive and active electrical properties. Neurons responded to mechanical stimuli but failed to generate action potentials in response to changes in temperature alone, except for the tactile mechanical and cold sensitive neurons. Heat and cold ramps were utilized to determine temperature-induced modulation of response to mechanical stimuli. Mechanically evoked electrical activity in non-nociceptive, low-threshold mechanoreceptors (tactile afferents) decreased in response to changes in temperature while mechanically induced activity was increased in nociceptive, fast-conducting, high-threshold mechanoreceptors in response to the same changes in temperature. These data suggest that mechanical activation does not occur in isolation but rather that temperature changes appear to alter mechanical afferent activity and input to the central nervous system in a dynamic fashion. Further studies to understand the psychophysiological implications of thermal modulation of fast-conducting mechanical input to the spinal cord will provide greater insight into the implications of these findings.

【刊名】Journal of neurophysiology