Cutaneous painful laser stimuli evoke responses recorded directly from primary somatosensory cortex in awake humans

S. Ohara, N. E. Crone, N. Weiss, R. D. Treede, F. A. Lenz

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Negative and positive laser evoked potential (LEP) peaks (N2*, P2**) were simultaneously recorded from the primary somatosensory (SI), parasylvian, and medial frontal (MF: anterior cingulate and supplementary motor area) cortical surfaces through subdural electrodes implanted for the surgical treatment of intractable epilepsy. Distribution of the LEP N2* and P2** peaks was estimated to be in cortical areas (SI, parasylvian, and MF) identified by anatomic criteria, by their response to innocuous vibratory stimulation of a finger (v-SEP), and to electrical stimulation of the median nerve (e-SEP). The maximum of the LEP N2* peak was located on the CS, medial (dorsal) to the finger motor area, as determined by cortical stimulation, and to the finger somatosensory area, as determined from the e-SEP and v-SEP. This finding suggests that the generator source of the LEP N2* peak in SI was different from that of e-SEP or v-SEP in Brodmann's areas 3b or 1. In parasylvian and MF, polarity reversal was often observed, indicating tangential current sources in these regions. In contrast to e-SEP and v-SEP, the LEP N2* latency over SI was not shorter than that over the parasylvian region. The amplitude of N2* was larger over SI than over MF and the latencies of the LEP peaks in those 2 regions were different. These findings provide evidence for a significant LEP generator in the postcentral gyrus, perhaps SI cortex, that is situated outside the tactile homunculus in SI and that receives its input arising from nociceptors simultaneously with parasylvian and MF cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2734-2746
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


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