Optical imaging of nociception in primary somatosensory cortex of non-human primates

Li Min Chen, Robert M. Friedman, Anna W. Roe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


While the activation of primary somatosensory (SI) cortex during pain perception is consistently reported in functional imaging studies on normal subjects and chronic pain patients, the specific roles of SI, particularly the subregions within SI, in the processing of sensory aspects of pain are still largely unknown. Using optical imaging of intrinsic signal (OIS) and single unit electrophysiology, we studied cortical activation patterns within SI cortex (among Brodmann areas 3a, 3b and 1) and signal amplitude changes to various intensities of non-nociceptive, thermal nociceptive and mechanical nociceptive stimulation of individual distal finerpads in anesthetized squirrel monkeys. We have demonstrated that areas 3a and 1 are preferentially involved in the processing of nociceptive information while areas 3b and 1 are preferentially activated in the processing of non-nociceptive (touch) information. Nociceptive activations of individual fingerpad were organized topographically suggesting that nociceptive topographic map exits in areas 3a and 1. Signal amplitude was enhanced to increasing intensity of mechanical nociceptive stimuli in areas 3a, 3b and 1. Within area 1, nociceptive response co-localizes with the non-nociceptive response. Therefore, we hypothesize that nocicepitve information is area-specifically represented within SI cortex, in which nociceptive inputs are preferentially represented in areas 3a and 1 while non-nociceptive inputs are preferentially represented in areas 3b and 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)664-668
Number of pages5
JournalSheng li xue bao : [Acta physiologica Sinica]
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 25 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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