A pharmacological approach to elucidation of the role of different nerve fibers and receptor endings in mediation of pain

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Abstract

Capsaicin, after initial stimulation, induced a long-lasting insensitivity to chemical pain stimuli without reducing the sensitivity to mechanical pain. The effect was peripheral as shown by recording action potentials from sensory nerves. In order to throw light on the receptors responsible for chemogenic pain, the specificity of the capsaicin effect was analysed. In cats, capsaicin given in close arterial injection excited the slowest conducting C2 fibres as measured by the collision technique on the saphenous nerve. In rats, the frequency of action potentials evoked by s.c. injection of capsaicin was sensitized by rapid warming of the skin area, while sudden cooling had a blocking effect. On the human skin, the threshold of thermal pain was shifted from 45°C to 30-31°C; below this skin temperature, the burning pain and hyperalgesia induced by capsaicin treatment disappeared and cold sensation remained unimpaired. On the human tongue, local capsaicin desensitization resulted in an elevated threshold of warm discrimination, while gustatory sensitivity as well as the capacity for discriminating cold or tactile stimuli remained unimpaired. It is concluded that capsaicin is a selective sensory blocking agent which acts by stimulation and subsequent sensory blockage of polymodal nociceptors and warm receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-259
Number of pages9
JournalJournal de Physiologie
Volume73
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1977

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Capsaicin
Nerve Fibers
Pharmacology
Pain
Action Potentials
Skin
Nociceptors
Injections
Pain Threshold
Skin Temperature
Hyperalgesia
Touch
Tongue
Cats
Hot Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

Cite this

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abstract = "Capsaicin, after initial stimulation, induced a long-lasting insensitivity to chemical pain stimuli without reducing the sensitivity to mechanical pain. The effect was peripheral as shown by recording action potentials from sensory nerves. In order to throw light on the receptors responsible for chemogenic pain, the specificity of the capsaicin effect was analysed. In cats, capsaicin given in close arterial injection excited the slowest conducting C2 fibres as measured by the collision technique on the saphenous nerve. In rats, the frequency of action potentials evoked by s.c. injection of capsaicin was sensitized by rapid warming of the skin area, while sudden cooling had a blocking effect. On the human skin, the threshold of thermal pain was shifted from 45°C to 30-31°C; below this skin temperature, the burning pain and hyperalgesia induced by capsaicin treatment disappeared and cold sensation remained unimpaired. On the human tongue, local capsaicin desensitization resulted in an elevated threshold of warm discrimination, while gustatory sensitivity as well as the capacity for discriminating cold or tactile stimuli remained unimpaired. It is concluded that capsaicin is a selective sensory blocking agent which acts by stimulation and subsequent sensory blockage of polymodal nociceptors and warm receptors.",
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N2 - Capsaicin, after initial stimulation, induced a long-lasting insensitivity to chemical pain stimuli without reducing the sensitivity to mechanical pain. The effect was peripheral as shown by recording action potentials from sensory nerves. In order to throw light on the receptors responsible for chemogenic pain, the specificity of the capsaicin effect was analysed. In cats, capsaicin given in close arterial injection excited the slowest conducting C2 fibres as measured by the collision technique on the saphenous nerve. In rats, the frequency of action potentials evoked by s.c. injection of capsaicin was sensitized by rapid warming of the skin area, while sudden cooling had a blocking effect. On the human skin, the threshold of thermal pain was shifted from 45°C to 30-31°C; below this skin temperature, the burning pain and hyperalgesia induced by capsaicin treatment disappeared and cold sensation remained unimpaired. On the human tongue, local capsaicin desensitization resulted in an elevated threshold of warm discrimination, while gustatory sensitivity as well as the capacity for discriminating cold or tactile stimuli remained unimpaired. It is concluded that capsaicin is a selective sensory blocking agent which acts by stimulation and subsequent sensory blockage of polymodal nociceptors and warm receptors.

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