PhD student, Aarhus University
Assessing how varying stimuli, particularly pleasant sensation, modulates facial pain.
BACKGROUND The sensory function in the mouth and face is of great importance for the quality of life and well-being of human beings. In the pain field, the scientific focus has been primarily on the sensation of pain and unpleasantness or problems with lack of normal sensations. However, lack of sensation of stimuli, which would normally be considered as pleasant or comforting, is rarely taken into account. In fact, in some patients with chronic orofacial pain, gentle touch sensations may be felt as painful (allodynia) due to changes within the nervous system. In contrast, some patients with myalgia (pain in a muscle/group of muscles) sometimes report pressure stimulation of the painful muscles as pleasant at certain levels but then painful at higher levels.
MAIN HYPOTHESIS Stimulus types, which will be specifically developed to induce a pleasant sensation in the orofacial region, may significantly modulate the sensation of experimental/clinical orofacial pain.
METHODOLOGY The study will be divided into 3 separate parts, with a total of 100 adult female participants.
Study 1: Applying standardised Quantitative Sensory Testing stimulus modalities (mechanical, thermal and nociceptive) as well as standardised brush stimuli, known to elicit pleasantness on the forearm, and evaluate their potential to evoke perceived pleasantness, unpleasantness and pain in the orofacial region. Study 2: Assessing the possible modulation of experimental orofacial pain and the resultant unpleasantness, perceptual distortion and blink reflex by pleasant, unpleasant, painful and control stimuli. In addition, evaluation of whether naltrexone and/or local anaesthetics blocks the modulatory effect of the stimuli will be undertaken. Study 3: Patients that have been diagnosed with muscular jaw pain and painful jaw nerve damage injuries. The patients will undergo the same tests under the same conditions as for participants in study 2 to assess if their sensitivity to different stimulations can be changed by applying pleasant/unpleasant/painful stimuli to the mouth and face.
FUTURE PERSPECTIVES The expectation from the findings of this project is to provide new knowledge that may be used to develop novel pain management strategies. In addition, the project aims to lead to a further refinement of methods for evaluation of orofacial somatosensory function, thereby improving clinical applicability and diagnostic accuracy of sensory testing for diagnosis of pain in the mouth and face.
Abstract: Affective touch carries strong significance for social mammals, including humans. Gentle, dynamic touch of a kind that occurs during social interactions is preferentially encoded by a distinct neural pathway involving tactile C (CT) afferents, a type of unmyelinated afferent nerve found exclusively in hairy skin. CT afferents increase firing when the skin is stroked at a pleasant, caress-like speed of ∼3 cm/s, and their discharge frequency correlates with the subjective hedonic experience of the caress. In humans, the posterior insula is a cortical target for CT afferents. Since the potential social relevance of affective touch extends to the touch interactions of others, we postulated that information from CT afferents in posterior insular cortex provides a basis for encoding observed caresses.In two experiments, we exploited CT afferents' functionally unique tuning curve for stroking speed, demonstrating that a speed optimal for eliciting CT discharge (3 cm/s) also gives rise to higher BOLD responses in posterior insula than a nonoptimal speed (30 cm/s). When participants viewed videos of others' arms being stroked at CT-optimal versus -nonoptimal speeds, the posterior insula showed a similar response as to directly felt touch. Further, this region's response was specific for social interactions, showing no CT-related modulation for nonsocial dynamic-touch videos.These findings provide direct evidence for a functional relationship between CT signaling and processing in posterior insular cortex. Such selective tuning for CT-optimal signals in insula may allow recognition of the hedonic relevance of a merely observed caress.
Pub.: 01 Jul '11, Pinned: 15 Jun '17
Abstract: We recently showed a contribution of low-threshold cutaneous mechanoreceptors to vibration-evoked changes in the perception of muscle pain. Neutral-touch stimulation (vibration) of the hairy skin during underlying muscle pain evoked an overall increase in pain intensity, i.e. allodynia. This effect appeared to be dependent upon cutaneous afferents, as allodynia was abolished by intradermal anaesthesia. However, it remains unclear whether allodynia results from activation of a single class of cutaneous afferents or the convergence of inputs from multiple classes. Intriguingly, no existing human study has examined the contribution of C-tactile (CT) afferents to allodynia. Detailed psychophysical observations were made in 29 healthy subjects (18 males and 11 females). Sustained muscle pain was induced by infusing hypertonic saline (HS: 5%) into tibialis anterior muscle (TA). Sinusoidal vibration (200 Hz–200 μm) was applied to the hairy skin overlying TA. Pain ratings were recorded using a visual analogue scale (VAS). In order to evaluate the role of myelinated and unmyelinated cutaneous afferents in the expression of vibration-evoked allodynia, compression block of the sciatic nerve, and low-dose intradermal anaesthesia (Xylocaine 0.25%) were used, respectively. In addition, the modulation of muscle pain by gentle brushing (1.0 and 3.0 cm s(−1))--known to excite CT fibres--was examined. Brushing stimuli were applied to the hairy skin with all fibres intact and following the blockade of myelinated afferents. During tonic muscle pain (VAS 4–6), vibration evoked a significant and reproducible increase in muscle pain (allodynia) that persisted following compression of myelinated afferents. During compression block, the sense of vibration was abolished, but the vibration-evoked allodynia persisted. In contrast, selective anaesthesia of unmyelinated cutaneous afferents abolished the allodynia, whereas the percept of vibration remained unaffected. Furthermore, allodynia was preserved in the adjacent non-anaesthetized skin. Conformingly, gentle brushing produced allodynia (at both brushing speeds) that persisted during the blockade of myelinated afferents. Prior to the induction and following cessation of muscle pain, all subjects reported vibration and brushing as non-painful (VAS = 0). These results demonstrate that CT fibres in hairy skin mediate allodynia, and that CT-mediated inputs have a pluripotent central effect.
Pub.: 06 Jul '11, Pinned: 15 Jun '17
Abstract: The tactile sense comprises pathways for both discriminative and affective touch. Low threshold unmyelinated mechanoafferents (C tactile, CT) in the human hairy skin have recently been linked to pleasant touch sensation. Here, we investigated how perception of the hedonic aspect of tactile stimulation differs between the hairy skin of the arm, and the glabrous skin of the palm, which is not innervated by CT afferents. Three groups of naïve, healthy subjects (total n=28) rated pleasantness on a visual analogue scale (VAS) when we stroked with a soft brush with speeds from 0.1 to 30cm/s on the palm or forearm. We used two different experimental approaches: in experiments 1 and 2, stimuli were delivered successively on the palm and arm (or arm and palm) in temporally separate sequential blocks. In experiment 3, stimuli were delivered alternately on arm and palm. We found that the order of stimulus presentation, palm/arm or arm/palm, has an effect on pleasantness ratings of gentle brush stroking with varying velocity. Notably, the perception of pleasantness for palm stimulation was affected by previous stimulation of the arm, but not vice versa. Thus, assessment of valence of touch may be influenced by affective reactions elicited by activation of the CT afferent pathway.
Pub.: 13 Sep '11, Pinned: 15 Jun '17
Abstract: 'Social brain' circuitry has recently been implicated in processing slow, gentle touch targeting a class of slow-conducting, unmyelinated nerves, CT afferents, which are present only in the hairy skin of mammals. Given the importance of such 'affective touch' in social relationships, the current functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study aimed to replicate the finding of 'social brain' involvement in processing CT-targeted touch and to examine the relationship between the neural response and individuals' social abilities. During an fMRI scan, 19 healthy adults received alternating blocks of slow (CT-optimal) and fast (non-optimal) brushing to the forearm. Relative to fast touch, the slow touch activated contralateral insula, superior temporal sulcus (STS), medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and amygdala. Connectivity analyses revealed co-activation of the mPFC, insula and amygdala during slow touch. Additionally, participants' autistic traits negatively correlated with the response to slow touch in the OFC and STS. The current study replicates and extends findings of the involvement of a network of 'social brain' regions in processing CT-targeted affective touch, emphasizing the multimodal nature of this system. Variability in the brain response to such touch illustrates a tight coupling of social behavior and social brain function in typical adults.
Pub.: 24 Jan '12, Pinned: 15 Jun '17
Abstract: Previous functional magnetic resonance imaging studies in two rare patients, together with microneurography and psychophysical observations in healthy subjects, have demonstrated a system of mechanosensitive C-fiber tactile (CT) afferents sensitive to slowly moving stimuli. They project to the posterior insular cortex and signal pleasant aspects of touch. Importantly, CTs have not been found in the glabrous skin of the hand, yet it is commonly observed that glabrous skin touch is also perceived as pleasant. Here we asked if the brain processing of pleasant touch differs between hairy and glabrous skin by stroking the forearm and glabrous skin of the hand during positron emission tomography. The data showed that, when contrasting slow brush stroking on the forearm with slow brush stroking on the palm, there were significant activations of the posterior insular cortex and mid-anterior orbitofrontal cortex. The opposite contrast showed a significant activation of the somatosensory cortices. Although concurrent psychophysical ratings showed no differences in intensity or pleasantness ratings, a subsequent touch questionnaire in which subjects used a newly developed 'touch perception task' showed significant difference for the two body sites. Emotional descriptors received higher ratings on the forearm and sensory descriptors were rated more highly on the palm. The present findings are consistent with the hypothesis that pleasant touch from hairy skin, mediated by CT afferents, is processed in the limbic-related cortex and represents an innate non-learned process. In contrast, pleasant touch from glabrous skin, mediated by A-beta afferents, is processed in the somatosensory cortex and represents an analytical process dependent on previous tactile experiences.
Pub.: 19 May '12, Pinned: 15 Jun '17
Abstract: Human tactile sensibility in hairy skin is mediated not only by fast conducting myelinated (Aβ) afferents, but also by a system of slow conducting, unmyelinated afferents that respond preferentially to light touch, C-tactile (CT) afferents. This system has previously been shown to correlate with the pleasantness of tactile stimuli, where a soft brush moving at 1-3cm/s activates CT afferents strongly. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have shown that preferential CT fiber stimulation activates the posterior insula cortex. The present study aims to assess brain activity evoked by the activation of CT afferents using electroencephalography (EEG). We present evidence for a late cortical potential over frontal electrodes, evoked from slow, gentle brush strokes at 3cm/s. We relate this to the CT afferent input based on the conduction velocity of the CT fibers and the force feedback from the brush; the potential started 0.7s after the brush contacted the skin and continued throughout the brush stimulation. Furthermore, results from brushing at lower and higher speeds showed that the CT potential was modulated by this stimulation. We conclude that the late potential is consistent with activity in a frontal cortical network following hairy skin peripheral stimulation. This provides an important tool for further studies of the CT fiber system and for clinical examination of peripheral unmyelinated afferents.
Pub.: 19 Jan '13, Pinned: 15 Jun '17
Abstract: Stroking of the skin produces pleasant sensations that can occur during social interactions with conspecifics, such as grooming. Despite numerous physiological studies (reviewed in ref. 2), molecularly defined sensory neurons that detect pleasant stroking of hairy skin in vivo have not been reported. Previously, we identified a rare population of unmyelinated sensory neurons in mice that express the G-protein-coupled receptor MRGPRB4 (refs 5, 6). These neurons exclusively innervate hairy skin with large terminal arborizations that resemble the receptive fields of C-tactile (CT) afferents in humans. Unlike other molecularly defined mechanosensory C-fibre subtypes, MRGPRB4(+) neurons could not be detectably activated by sensory stimulation of the skin ex vivo. Therefore, we developed a preparation for calcium imaging in the spinal projections of these neurons during stimulation of the periphery in intact mice. Here we show that MRGPRB4(+) neurons are activated by massage-like stroking of hairy skin, but not by noxious punctate mechanical stimulation. By contrast, a different population of C fibres expressing MRGPRD was activated by pinching but not by stroking, consistent with previous physiological and behavioural data. Pharmacogenetic activation of Mrgprb4-expressing neurons in freely behaving mice promoted conditioned place preference, indicating that such activation is positively reinforcing and/or anxiolytic. These data open the way to understanding the function of MRGPRB4 neurons during natural behaviours, and provide a general approach to the functional characterization of genetically identified subsets of somatosensory neurons in vivo.
Pub.: 01 Feb '13, Pinned: 15 Jun '17
Abstract: Un-myelinated C tactile afferents (CT afferents) are a key finding in affective touch. These fibers, which activate in response to a caress-like touch to hairy skin (CT afferents are not found in palm skin), may have more in common with interoceptive systems encoding body ownership, than afferent systems processing other tactile stimuli. We tested whether subjective embodiment of a rubber hand (measured through questionnaire items) was increased when tactile stimulation was applied to the back of the hand at a rate optimal for CT afferents (3 cm/s) vs. stimulation of glabrous skin (on the palm of the hand) or at a non-optimal rate (30 cm/s), which should not activate these fibers. We also collected ratings of tactile pleasantness and a measure of perceived limb position, proprioceptive drift, which is mediated by different mechanisms of multisensory integration than those responsible for feelings of ownership. The results of a multiple regression analysis revealed that proprioceptive drift was a significant predictor of subjective strength of the illusion when tactile stimuli were applied to the back of the hand, regardless of stroking speed. This relationship was modified by pleasantness, with higher ratings when stimulation was applied to the back of the hand at the slower vs. faster stroking speed. Pleasantness was also a unique predictor of illusion strength when fast stroking was applied to the palm of the hand. However, there were no conditions under which pleasantness was a significant predictor of drift. Since the illusion was demonstrated at a non-optimal stroking speed an integrative role for CT afferents within the illusion cannot be fully supported. Pleasant touch, however, does moderate the subjective aspects of the rubber hand illusion, which under certain tactile conditions may interact with proprioceptive information about the body or have a unique influence on subjective body perception.
Pub.: 07 Jan '14, Pinned: 15 Jun '17
Abstract: Tactile interactions with our environment stimulate afferent fibers within the skin, which deliver information about sensations of pain, texture, itch and other feelings to the brain as a comprehensive sense of self. These tactile interactions can stimulate brain regions involved in interoception and reward processing. This study examined subjective, behavioral, and neural processing as a function of age during stimulation of A-beta (Aβ) and C tactile (CT) afferents using a soft brush stroke task. 16 adolescents (ages 15-17), 22 young adults (ages 20-28), and 20 mature adults (ages 29-55) underwent a simple continuous performance task while periodically anticipating and experiencing a soft touch to the palm or forearm, during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). fMRI results showed that adolescents displayed greater bilateral posterior insula activation than young and mature adults across all conditions and stimulus types. Adolescents also demonstrated greater bilateral posterior insula activation than young and mature adults specifically in response to the soft touch condition. Adolescents also exhibited greater activation than mature adults in bilateral inferior frontal gyrus and striatum during the soft touch condition. However, mature adults showed greater striatum activation than adolescents and young adults during anticipation. In the left anterior cingulate cortex, mature adults exhibited greater activation than adolescents and young adults when anticipating the upcoming touch. These results support the hypothesis that adolescents show an exaggerated neural response to pleasant stimulation of afferents, which may have profound effects on how they approach or avoid social and risky situations. In particular, heightened interoceptive reactivity to pleasant stimuli might cause adolescents to seek experiences that are associated with pleasant stimulation.
Pub.: 07 Mar '14, Pinned: 15 Jun '17
Abstract: Human skin is innervated with different tactile afferents, which are found at varying densities over the body. We investigate how the relationships between tactile pleasantness, sensitivity and discrimination differ across the skin. Tactile pleasantness was assessed by stroking a soft brush over the skin, using five velocities (0.3, 1, 3, 10, 30 cm s(-1)), known to differentiate hedonic touch, and pleasantness ratings were gained. The ratings velocity-profile is known to correlate with firing in unmyelinated C-tactile (CT) afferents. Tactile sensitivity thresholds were determined using monofilament force detection and the tactile discrimination level was obtained in the direction discrimination of a moving probe; both tasks readily activate myelinated touch receptors. Perceptions were measured over five skin sites: forehead, arm, palm, thigh and shin. The assessment of tactile pleasantness over the skin resulted in a preference for the middle velocities (1-10 cm s(-1)), where higher ratings were gained compared to the slowest and fastest velocities. This preference in tactile pleasantness was found across all the skin sites, apart from at the palm, where no decrease in pleasantness for the faster stroking velocities was seen. We find that tactile sensitivity and discrimination vary across the skin, where the forehead and palm show increased acuity. Tactile sensitivity and discrimination levels also correlated significantly, although the tactile acuity did not relate to the perceived pleasantness of touch. Tactile pleasantness varied in a subtle way across skin sites, where the middle velocities were always rated as the most pleasant, but the ratings at hairy skin sites were more receptive to changes in stroking velocity. We postulate that although the mechanoreceptive afferent physiology may be different over the skin, the perception of pleasant touch can be interpreted using all of the available incoming somatosensory information in combination with central processing.
Pub.: 07 Mar '14, Pinned: 15 Jun '17
Abstract: Affective touch is a dynamic process. In this fMRI study we investigated affective touch by exploring its effects on overt behavior. Arm and palm skin were stroked with a soft brush at five different velocities (0.3, 1, 10, 3, and 30 cm s(-1)), using a novel feedback-based paradigm. Following stimulation in each trial, participants actively chose whether the caress they would receive in the next trial would be the same speed ("repeat") or different ("change"). Since preferred stroking speeds should be sought with greater frequency than non-preferred speeds, this paradigm provided a measure of such preferences in the form of active choices. The stimulation velocities were implemented with respect to the differential subjective pleasantness ratings they elicit in healthy subjects, with intermediate velocities (1, 10, and 3 cm s(-1)) considered more pleasant than very slow or very fast ones. Such pleasantness ratings linearly correlate with changes in mean firing rates of unmyelinated low-threshold C-tactile (CT) afferent nerves in the skin. Here, gentle, dynamic stimulation optimal for activating CT-afferents not only affected behavioral choices, but engaged brain regions involved in reward-related behavior and decision-making. This was the case for both hairy skin of the arm, where CTs are abundant, and glabrous skin of the palm, where CTs are absent. These findings provide insights on central and behavioral mechanisms underlying the perception of affective touch, and indicate that seeking affective touch involves value-based neural processing that is ultimately reflected in behavioral preferences.
Pub.: 24 Feb '15, Pinned: 15 Jun '17
Abstract: C-tactile (CT) afferents encode caress-like touch that supports social-emotional development, and stimulation of the CT system engages the insula and cortical circuitry involved in social-emotional processing. Very few neuroimaging studies have investigated the neural mechanisms of touch processing in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who often exhibit atypical responses to touch. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we evaluated the hypothesis that children and adolescents with ASD would exhibit atypical brain responses to CT-targeted touch. Children and adolescents with ASD, relative to typically developing (TD) participants, exhibited reduced activity in response to CT-targeted (arm) versus non-CT-targeted (palm) touch in a network of brain regions known to be involved in social-emotional information processing including bilateral insula and insular operculum, the right posterior superior temporal sulcus, bilateral temporoparietal junction extending into the inferior parietal lobule, right fusiform gyrus, right amygdala, and bilateral ventrolateral prefrontal cortex including the inferior frontal and precentral gyri, suggesting atypical social brain hypoactivation. Individuals with ASD (vs. TD) showed an enhanced response to non-CT-targeted versus CT-targeted touch in the primary somatosensory cortex, suggesting atypical sensory cortical hyper-reactivity.
Pub.: 07 Jun '15, Pinned: 15 Jun '17
Abstract: Affective touch sensation is conducted by a sub-class of C-fibres in hairy skin known as C-Tactile (CT) afferents. CT afferents respond maximally to gentle skin stroking at velocities between 1-10 cm/sec. Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterised by markedly reduced cutaneous C-fibres. It is not known if affective touch perception is influenced by C fibre density and if affective touch is impaired in PD compared to healthy controls. We predicted that perceived pleasantness to gentle stroking in PD would correlate with C afferent density and that affective touch perception would be impaired in PD compared to healthy controls. Twenty-four PD patients and 27 control subjects rated the pleasantness of brush stroking at an optimum CT stimulation velocity (3cm/sec) and two sub-optimal velocities (0.3cm/sec & 30cm/sec). PD patients underwent quantification of C-fibre density using skin biopsies and corneal confocal microscopy. All participants rated stroking velocity of 3cm/sec as the most pleasant with significantly lower ratings for 0.3cm/sec and 30cm/sec. There was a significant positive correlation between C-fibre density and pleasantness ratings at 3cm/sec and 30cm/sec but not 0.3cm/sec. Mean pleasantness ratings were consistently higher in PD patients compared to control subjects across all three velocities. This study shows that perceived pleasantness to gentle touch correlate significantly with C-fibre density in PD. The higher perceived pleasantness in PD patients compared to controls suggests central sensitisation to peripheral inputs, which may have been enhanced by dopamine therapy. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Pub.: 20 Nov '16, Pinned: 15 Jun '17
Abstract: The perception of touch is complex and there has been a lack of ways to describe the full tactile experience quantitatively. Guest et al. (2011) developed a Touch Perception Task (TPT) in order to capture such experiences, and here we used the TPT to examine differences in sensory and emotional aspects of touch at different skin sites. We compared touch on three skin sites: the hairy arm and cheek, and the glabrous palm. The hairy skin contains C-tactile (CT) afferents, which play a role in affective touch, whereas glabrous skin does not contain CT afferents and is involved in more discriminative touch. In healthy volunteers, three different materials (soft brush, sandpaper, fur) were stroked across these skin sites during self-touch or experimenter-applied touch. After each stimulus, participants rated the tactile experience using descriptors in the TPT. Sensory and emotional descriptors were analyzed using factor analyses. Five sensory factors were found: Texture, Pile, Moisture, Heat/Sharp and Cold/Slip, and three emotional factors: Positive Affect, Arousal, and Negative Affect. Significant differences were found in the use of descriptors in touch to hairy vs. glabrous skin: this was most evident in touch on forearm skin, which produced higher emotional content. The touch from another was also judged as more emotionally positive then self-touch, and participants readily discriminated between the materials on all factors. The TPT successfully probed sensory and emotional percepts of the touch experience, which aided in identifying skin where emotional touch was more pertinent. It also highlights the potentially important role for CTs in the affective processing of inter-personal touch, in combination with higher-order influences, such as through cultural belonging and previous experiences.
Pub.: 28 Feb '14, Pinned: 13 Jun '17
Abstract: Human C-tactile (CT) afferents respond vigorously to gentle skin stroking and have gained attention for their importance in social touch. Pharmacogenetic activation of the mouse CT equivalent has positively reinforcing, anxiolytic effects, suggesting a role in grooming and affiliative behavior. We recorded from single CT axons in human participants, using the technique of microneurography, and stimulated a unit's receptive field using a novel, computer-controlled moving probe, which stroked the skin of the forearm over five velocities (0.3, 1, 3, 10, and 30 cm s(-1)) at three temperatures (cool, 18 °C; neutral, 32 °C; warm, 42 °C). We show that CTs are unique among mechanoreceptive afferents: they discharged preferentially to slowly moving stimuli at a neutral (typical skin) temperature, rather than at the cooler or warmer stimulus temperatures. In contrast, myelinated hair mechanoreceptive afferents proportionally increased their firing frequency with stroking velocity and showed no temperature modulation. Furthermore, the CT firing frequency correlated with hedonic ratings to the same mechano-thermal stimulus only at the neutral stimulus temperature, where the stimuli were felt as pleasant at higher firing rates. We conclude that CT afferents are tuned to respond to tactile stimuli with the specific characteristics of a gentle caress delivered at typical skin temperature. This provides a peripheral mechanism for signaling pleasant skin-to-skin contact in humans, which promotes interpersonal touch and affiliative behavior.
Pub.: 21 Feb '14, Pinned: 13 Jun '17
Abstract: C-tactile (CT) afferents are unmyelinated low-threshold mechanoreceptors optimized for signalling affective, gentle touch. In three separate psychophysical experiments, we examined the contribution of CT afferents to pain modulation.In total, 44 healthy volunteers experienced heat pain and CT optimal (slow brushing) and CT sub-optimal (fast brushing or vibration) stimuli. Three different experimental paradigms were used: Concurrent application of heat pain and tactile (slow brushing or vibration) stimulation; Slow brushing, applied for variable duration and intervals, preceding heat pain; Slow versus fast brushing preceding heat pain.Slow brushing was effective in reducing pain, whereas fast brushing or vibration was not. The reduction in pain was significant not only when the CT optimal touch was applied simultaneously with the painful stimulus but also when the two stimuli were separated in time. For subsequent stimulation, the pain reduction was more pronounced for a shorter time interval between brushing and pain. Likewise, the effect was more robust when pain was preceded by a longer duration of brush stimulation. Strong CT-related pain reduction was associated with low anxiety and high calmness scores obtained by a state anxiety questionnaire.Slow brushing – optimal for CT activation – is effective in reducing pain from cutaneous heating. The precise mechanisms for the pain relief are as yet unknown but possible mechanisms include inhibition of nociceptive projection neurons at the level of the dorsal horn as well as analgesia through cortical mechanisms.Slow brushing stimuli – optimal for activation of C-tactile fibres – can reduce pain from cutaneous heating. No such effect was seen with fast brushing or vibration. These observations indicate the role of C-tactile fibres in pain modulation.
Pub.: 01 Feb '17, Pinned: 13 Jun '17
Abstract: In humans converging evidence indicates that affective aspects of touch are signaled by low threshold mechanoreceptive C tactile (CT) afferents. Analyses of electrophysiological recordings, psychophysical studies in denervated subjects, and functional brain imaging, all indicate that CT primary afferents contribute to pleasant touch and provide an important sensory underpinning of social behavior. Considering both these pleasant and social aspects of gentle skin-to-skin contact, we have put forward a framework within which to consider CT afferent coding properties and pathways-the CT affective touch hypothesis. Recent evidence from studies in mice suggests that CTs, when activated, may have analgesic or anxiolytic effects. However, in neuropathic pain conditions, light touch can elicit unpleasant sensations, so called tactile allodynia. In humans, tactile allodynia is associated with reduced CT mediated hedonic touch processing suggesting loss of the normally analgesic effect of CT signaling. We thus propose that the contribution of CT afferents to tactile allodynia is mainly through a loss of their normally pain inhibiting role.
Pub.: 19 Mar '14, Pinned: 13 Jun '17