The effects of small doses of barbiturate on the activity of primate nociceptive tract cells

Y. Hori, K. H. Lee, J. M. Chung, K. Endo, W. D. Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The activity of neurons identified as or similar to spinothalamic tract cells was compared in anesthetized, intact monkeys and in unanesthetized, decerebrate or spinalized animals. Background activity and responses to A- and C-fiber volleys were smaller in decerebrate than in the other preparations, suggesting the presence of a tonic descending inhibition of nociceptive tract cells in the decerebrate state. Injections of small doses of sodium pentobarbital caused a slight increase in sensitivity of peripheral receptive fields to mechanical stimuli in some cells, and an increase in responses to squeezing the skin with forceps and to C-fiber volleys. Larger doses of pentobarbital reduced the responses to A- and C-fiber volleys. These observations suggest that the activity of nociceptive tract cells is well preserved in the presence of the doses of pentobarbital we routinely use and are consistent with the hyperalgesic state reported to be produced by small doses of barbiturate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 30 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • C-fiber responses
  • nociceptive tract cells
  • pentobarbital
  • primate
  • receptive fields
  • spinothalamic tract cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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