Encyclopedia of Pain

2007 Edition

Ascending Nociceptive Pathways

  • Glenn J. Giesler Jr
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29805-2_293

Nociceptive neurons in the spinal cord and trigeminal nuclei send their axons to terminate within a large number of regions in the upper cervical spinal cord, brainstem and diencephalon. The precise roles of each of these pathways in nociception have not yet been established with certainty and it is likely that their roles vary among species. This overview presents a summary of prominent findings on several of the most thoroughly examined ascending nociceptive projections. Many specific topics are dealt with in more detail by individual contributors to the Encyclopedia of Pain. These are referred to throughout this overview.

Spinothalamic Tract

The most widely studied ascending nociceptive pathway originating in the spinal cord is the spinothalamic tract. Nearly 100 years ago, anatomical studied indicated that lesions of the spinal cord caused the degeneration of axons within the thalamus. These early studies were performed in a variety of species including primates. The first...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenn J. Giesler Jr
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeuroscienceUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA