It has been thought that spinal dorsal horn neurons receive convergent inputs from not only somatosensory but also visceral pathways. For instance, the referred pain is presumed to be due to the convergence of sensory inputs from cardiac and shoulder receptive fields. However, precise investigation has not been made from dorsal horn neurons yet, because of difficulty in studying the pathways from those regions by means of conventional electrophysiology. The purpose of this study is to clarify the convergent inputs to single dorsal horn neurons from wide receptive fields using an in vivo patch-clamp recording technique from the superficial spinal dorsal horn and an intracellular recording from dorsal root ganglion neurons that keep physiological connections with the peripheral sites. Identified dorsal root ganglion neurons received an input from a quite small area, about 1 × 1 mm in width of the skin. In contrast, substantia gelatinosa neurons in the spinal cord received inputs from an unexpectedly wide area of the skin. Previous extracellular recordings have, however, revealed that substantia gelatinosa neurons have small receptive field. This discrepancy is probably due mainly to an availability of the in vivo patch-clamp method to analyze sub-threshold synaptic responses. In contrast, the extracellular recording technique allows us to analyze predominantly the firing frequency of neurons. Thus, the in vivo patch-clamp recordings from dorsal horn neurons and the intracellular recordings from DRG neurons will be useful for well understanding the sensory processing in the spinal cord.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)