Convergence of nociceptive and non-nociceptive input onto the medullary dorsal horn in man

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REFERRED pain arising in orofacial pain states is probably due to convergence of different somatosensory input onto the medullary dorsal horn (MDH). To examine convergence between nociceptive and nonnociceptive input onto the MDH, the blink reflex (BR) was applied. R1-and R2-components can be evoked by innocuous stimuli, but only the R2 is elicited by painful heat. The BR was elicited by innocuous electrical stimuli applied to the supraorbital nerve. A conditioning painful heat pulse which did not evoke any BR was homotopically applied to the left forehead preceding the electrical stimulus by 75 ms. While R1 remained unchanged, the R2 was facilitated by about 30%. This study demonstrates a convergence of low-threshold mechanoreceptive and nociceptive inputs onto interneurons of the MDH in man.

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