Descending Control of Nociceptive Transmission by Primate Spinothalamic Neurons

  • W. D. Willis
Part of the Wenner-Gren Center International Symposium Series book series (EMISS, volume 12)


The spinothalamic tract in primates, including man, is thought to play a crucial role in nociception. Interruption of the anterolateral quadrant of the spinal cord, through which the spinothalamic tract ascends, results in analgesia on the contralateral side below the lesion (White & Sweet, 1955). Pain sensation is present when just one anterolateral quadrant of the cord is intact, as shown by the patient reported by Noordenbos and Wall (1976). Thus the anterolateral quadrant is both necessary and sufficient for pain sensation in humans. A comparable pathway also exists in monkeys (Vierck & Luck, 1979).


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Copyright information

© The Wenner-Gren Center 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. D. Willis
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Biomedical Institute and Departments of Physiology and Biophysics, and AnatomyUniversity of Texas BranchGalvestonUSA

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