Characterization of thalamic neuronal responses to urinary bladder distention, including the effect of acute spinal lesions in the rat

Academic Article


  • Chronic visceral pain has proved to be difficult to treat. This study characterized urinary bladder distention (UBD)-evoked responses of neurons located within the ventrobasal group of the thalamus. Units were also characterized for responses to cutaneous stimuli and colorectal distention (CRD). In addition, the effects of spinal lesions on UBD-evoked responses were examined in a subset of neurons. After a stable response to UBD was established, 3 sequential lesions of the spinal cord at the mid-cervical level were performed, and responses to UBD were determined 1 and 5 minutes later. A majority of the neurons in the ventrobasal group of the thalamus were excited by UBD, demonstrated graded responses to graded distention pressures, and responded to cutaneous stimulation. No correlation between the magnitude of the responses of thalamic neurons to UBD and CRD was found. UBD-evoked thalamic neuronal activity was significantly attenuated after dorsal midline lesions of the spinal cord. The present study is a quantitative description of ventrobasal thalamic neuronal responses to UBD in the rat and provides direct neurophysiologic evidence that nociceptive information from the urinary bladder to the ventrobasal group of the thalamus ascends via a dorsal midline pathway. © 2006 by the American Pain Society.
  • Published In

  • Journal of Pain  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Robbins MT; Uzzell TW; Aly S; Ness TJ
  • Start Page

  • 218
  • End Page

  • 224
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 3