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Pain, Painrelieving Mechanisms and Trauma

  • B. Sjolund (a1)


Activity in nociceptive nerve fibers does not only trigger the sensation of pain but it also starts a variety of nocifensive reflexes to protect the organism from the noxious agent. Some of these reflexes may, if active long enough, be harmful themselves, causing ischemia in visceral organs or other inadvertent reactions. Recently, several endogenous mechanisms have been discovered that can inhibit the transmission of nerve impulses from nociceptive afferents to other nerve cells, thus not only preventing the pain sensation but also modulating the nocifensive reflex responses. Several such mechanisms may involve the release of endorphins. These are small peptides, with opiate-like activity that were first discovered in 1975 by Hughes and Kosterlitz in Great Britain and by Terenius in Sweden. The distribution of such endorphins in the central nervous system was first investigated by Hökfelt and his coworkers. They found terminals and cell bodies containing endorphins in several areas of interest from the point of view of nociception. Thus the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, the corresponding area of the fifth cranial nerve and the periaqueductal gray matter contained such material.



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1.Eriksson, M., Sjölund, B., and Nielzen, S. (1979): Long term results of peripheral conditioning stimulation as an analgesic measure in chronic pain. Pain, 6:335347.
2.Hökfelt, T., Ljungdahl, A., Terenius, L., Elde, R., and Nilsson, G. (1977): Immunohistochemical analysis of peptide pathways probably related to pain and analgesia. Proc. Nathl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 74:30813085.
3.Sjölund, B. H., and Eriksson, M. E. (1979): The influence of naloxone on analgesia produced by peripheral conditioning stimulation. Brain Res., 173:295301.
4.Sjölund, B. H., Terenius, L., and Eriksson, M. E. (1977): Increased cerebrospinal fluid levels of endorphins after electro-acupuncture. Acta Physiol. Scand., 100:382384.
5.Sjölund, B. H., and Schouenborg, J. (1983): Site of action of antinociceptive acupuncture-like nerve stimulation in the spinal rat as visualized by the 14C-2-deoxyglucose method. Advances in Pain Research and Therapy, edited by Bonica, John J. et al: Raven Press, New York, 5:535541.
6.Cervero, F., Schouenborg, J. and Sjölund, B.H. (1981): Effects of conditioning stimulation of somatic and visceral afferent fibres on viscerosomatic and somato-somatic reflexes. J. Physiol, 317:84.

Pain, Painrelieving Mechanisms and Trauma

  • B. Sjolund (a1)


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