Postsynaptic dorsal column pathway of the rat. II. Evidence against an important role in nociception

Glenn J. Giesler, Kenneth D. Cliffer

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53 Scopus citations


The response characteristics of neurons at the origin of the postsynaptic dorsal column (PSDC) pathway were determined in unanesthetized, decerebrated, spinalized rats. Sixty-four percent of PSDC neurons responded only to innocuous mechanical stimuli. Thirty-six percent responded to innocuous stimuli but were more powerfully activated by noxious pinch, Ninety-three percent of the tested PSDC neurons were not activated by any of several intensities of sustained, repeated noxious heating of their receptive fields. The failure of pinch-responssive PSDC cells to respond to thermal stimulation, even in sensitized skin, suggests that they do not receive a functionally significant input from C polymodal nociceptors, heat nociceptors, or mechanical-heat nociceptors. We conclude, therefore that the postsynaptic dorsal column pathway is not importantly involved in nociception in the rat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-356
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 11 1985


  • nociceptor input
  • pain
  • postsynaptic dorsal column pathway
  • thermal stimulation


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