Pain mechanisms: labeled lines versus convergence in central processing

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2003;26:1-30. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.26.041002.131022. Epub 2003 Mar 6.

Abstract

The issue of whether pain is represented by specific neural elements or by patterned activity within a convergent somatosensory subsystem has been debated for over a century. The gate control theory introduced in 1965 denied central specificity, and since then most authors have endorsed convergent wide-dynamic-range neurons. Recent functional and anatomical findings provide compelling support for a new perspective that views pain in humans as a homeostatic emotion that integrates both specific labeled lines and convergent somatic activity.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Pain / classification
  • Pain / history
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Peripheral Nerves / anatomy & histology
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology
  • Spine / cytology
  • Spine / physiology
  • Thalamus / anatomy & histology
  • Thalamus / physiology