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The Neural Pathways for the Hypothetic Nociceptive-Sympathetic Coupling of NBA for Pain Sensation

DOI: 10.4236/oalib.1105780, PP. 1-10

Subject Areas: Anaesthesiology & Pain Management, Neuroscience, Anatomy & Physiology

Keywords: Pain, Aδ-Fiber, C-Fiber, Spinal Nociceptive-Sympathetic Coupling, Periaqueductal Grey, Sympathetically Maintained Pain

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In May 2016, it was suggested by the US athletes playing games of National Basketball Association (NBA) in television that the pain sensation might result from the post-sensory nociceptive-sympathetic coupling. In this re-view, it is attempted to newly delineate the underlying neural pathways for this post-sensory nociceptive-sympathetic coupling. Based on the con-temporary feedback neural circuits of pain transmission in spinal cord, it is summarized that the Aδ- and C-fibers relay the sensory noxious signals to the laminae I, II and V of dorsal spinal horn, and in turn activate the peria-queductal grey (PAG) in midbrain, which feedbacks via raphe to inhibit the nociceptive transmission of spinal cord. Herein it is newly added that, as extension of the contemporary feedback pain circuits, the neurons in laminae I and V of dorsal spinal horn as well as those in PAG can additionally activate the sympathetic outputs, completing the post-sensory nocicep-tive-sympathetic coupling. It is emphasized that such nocicep-tive-sympathetic coupling would contribute at least partially to the pain sensation because of sympathetically maintained pain. It is also pointed out that the neurons in parabrachial area (PB) can concurrently relay the nociceptive inputs from spinal cord while regulating the respiration, coor-dinating the nociceptive and respiratory activities during pain sensation. Because both PAG and PB are below thalamus, it is speculated that these sympathetic and respiratory associations with pain are primitive and uni-versal in evolution in vertebrates. It is expected to promote this hypothesis to revise the pain mechanisms in vertebrates and the relevant investigations in the future.

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Cai, Z. (2019). The Neural Pathways for the Hypothetic Nociceptive-Sympathetic Coupling of NBA for Pain Sensation. Open Access Library Journal, 6, e5780. doi:


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