A critical review of the role of the proposed VMpo nucleus in pain

William D. Willis, Xijing Zhang, Christopher N. Honda, Glenn J. Giesler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


The evidence presented by Craig and his colleagues for an important projection from lamina I spinothalamic tract neurons to a renamed thalamic nucleus (the posterior part of the ventral medial nucleus or VMpo), as well as to the ventrocaudal medial dorsal and the ventral posterior inferior thalamic nuclei, is critically reviewed. Of particular concern is the denial of an important nociceptive lamina I projection to the ventrobasal complex. Contrary evidence is reviewed that strongly favors a role of spinothalamic projections from both lamina I and deep layers of the dorsal horn to the ventrobasal complex and other thalamic nuclei and from there to the SI and SII somatosensory cortices in the sensory-discriminative processing of pain and temperature information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-94
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Pain
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


  • Pain
  • Spinothalamocortical pain system
  • Temperature sensation


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