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    Fine-grained nociceptive maps in primary somatosensory cortex

    Mancini, F. and Haggard, P. and Iannetti, G.D. and Longo, Matthew R. and Sereno, Martin I. (2012) Fine-grained nociceptive maps in primary somatosensory cortex. Journal of Neuroscience 32 (48), pp. 17155-17162. ISSN 0270-6474.

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    Topographic maps of the receptive surface are a fundamental feature of neural organization in many sensory systems. While touch is finely mapped in the cerebral cortex, it remains controversial how precise any cortical nociceptive map may be. Given that nociceptive innervation density is relatively low on distal skin regions such as the digits, one might conclude that the nociceptive system lacks fine representation of these regions. Indeed, only gross spatial organization of nociceptive maps has been reported so far. However, here we reveal the existence of fine-grained somatotopy for nociceptive inputs to the digits in human primary somatosensory cortex (SI). Using painful nociceptive-selective laser stimuli to the hand, and phase-encoded fMRI analysis methods, we observed somatotopic maps of the digits in contralateral SI. These nociceptive maps were highly aligned with maps of non-painful tactile stimuli, suggesting comparable cortical representations for, and possible interactions between, mechanoreceptive and nociceptive signals. Our findings may also be valuable for future studies tracking the timecourse and the spatial pattern of plastic changes in cortical organization involved in chronic pain.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Matthew Longo
    Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2013 17:23
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 16:59


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