The Role of C-Nociceptors in Cutaneous Heat Pain and Hyperalgesia

  • Robert H. Lamotte
Part of the Wenner-Gren Center International Symposium Series book series (EMISS, volume 12)


Neurophysiological studies have demonstrated the existence of cutaneous nociceptors that respond with graded discharge to noxious heat stimuli of different temperatures. The studies have also shown that certain nociceptors can be sensitized to heat after cutaneous heat injury (Beitel end Dubner, l976a,b, Bessou and Perl, 1969, Campbell et al., 1979, Fitzgerald and Lynn, 1977, Iggo, 1959, Kumazawa and Perl, 1977, Lynn, 1979, 1980, Meyer and Campbell, 1981, Perl et al., 1976, Torebjörk and Hallin, 1974). These results indicate a role of cutaneous nociceptors in heat pain and the hyperalgesia that develops after cutaneous injury. However, no clear relationship between nociceptor responses and the sensation of pain can be established until combined neurophysiological and psychophysical studies are carried out in the same or related species using the same set of experimental stimuli. With this idea in mind, my colleagues and I have investigated some peripheral neural mechanisms of cutaneous heat pain and hyperalgesia (LaMotte et al., 1982, 1983, Torebjörk et al., 1984). The goals of these studies were to determine the following: (1) which set of afferent fibers and which aspects of their discharge contribute to the threshold, magnitude, and duration of cutaneous heat pain; (2) after heat injury, which cutaneous receptors and which characteristics of their discharge contribute to hyperalges1a — the latter characterized as a lower than normal heat pain threshold and greater than normal magnitude ratings and duratfuns of heat pain.


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Copyright information

© The Wenner-Gren Center 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert H. Lamotte
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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