Muscle stretch-induced modulation of noxiously activated dorsal horn neurons of feline spinal cord

M. Björklund, S. Radovanovic, M. Ljubisavljevic, U. Windhorst, H. Johansson

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2 Citations (Scopus)


The present work was designed to check for the possibility of interactions between mechanical innocuous and chemically induced noxious muscle afferent inputs on discharge behavior of nociceptive superficial dorsal horn neurons (SDHNs) of the spinal cord in decerebrated cats. The innocuous and noxious stimuli were applied separately and in combination, so that the effects of the innocuous stimulus on nociceptive processing could be evaluated. The innocuous stimulus consisted of ramp-and-hold stretches of the gastrocnemius muscles, whereas the noxious stimulus consisted of i.a. injections of bradykinin (BK; 0.5-1ml, 50μg/ml) into the arterial circulation of same muscles. Only neurons up to approximately 1mm depth and those that responded to noxious pinch of the gastrocnemius muscles were selected for further analysis. The activity of 16 dorsal horn neurons was recorded extracellularly with high-impedance glass microelectrodes, out of which seven responded to stretch, while 12 neurons responded to bradykinin injections. The bradykinin injections induced three types of responses: excitatory, inhibitory and mixed. The majority of the neurons that showed excitatory and mixed responses to bradykinin were also influenced by stretches applied directly after the bradykinin injection. In these neurons, the stretch usually counteracted the bradykinin-induced response, i.e. shortening and reducing bradykinin-induced excitation and re-exciting the cells after bradykinin-induced inhibition. The mechanism of the stretch modulation is proposed to reside in a segmental spinal control of the nociceptive transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-184
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroscience Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Bradykinin
  • Cat
  • Muscle afferent
  • Muscle pain
  • Nociception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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