Brain mechanisms of pain affect and pain modulation

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2002 Apr;12(2):195-204. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(02)00313-6.


Recent animal studies reveal ascending nociceptive and descending modulatory pathways that may contribute to the affective-motivational aspects of pain and play a critical role in the modulation of pain. In humans, a reliable pattern of cerebral activity occurs during the subjective experience of pain. Activity within the anterior cingulate cortex and possibly in other classical limbic structures, appears to be closely related to the subjective experience of pain unpleasantness and may reflect the regulation of endogenous mechanisms of pain modulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Emotions
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Limbic System / physiopathology
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed