Amplitudes of laser evoked potential recorded from primary somatosensory, parasylvian and medial frontal cortex are graded with stimulus intensity

Pain. 2004 Jul;110(1-2):318-28. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2004.04.009.


Intensity encoding of painful stimuli in many brain regions has been suggested by imaging studies which cannot measure electrical activity of the brain directly. We have now examined the effect of laser stimulus intensity (three energy levels) on laser evoked potentials (LEPs) recorded directly from the human primary somatosensory (SI), parasylvian, and medial frontal cortical surfaces through subdural electrodes implanted for surgical treatment of medically intractable epilepsy. LEP N2* (early exogenous/stimulus-related potential) and LEP P2** (later endogenous potential) amplitudes were significantly related to the laser energy levels in all regions, although differences between regions were not significant. Both LEP peaks were also significantly correlated with the pain intensity evoked by the laser stimulus, excepting N2* over the parasylvian region. Peak latencies of both LEP peaks were independent of laser energy levels. N2* and P2** amplitudes of the maxima in all regions showed significant positive linear correlations with laser energy, excepting N2* over the parasylvian region. The lack of correlation of parasylvian cortical N2* with laser energy and pain intensity may be due to the unique anatomy of this region, or the small sample, rather than the lack of activation by the laser. Differences in thresholds of the energy correlation with amplitudes were not significant between regions. These results suggest that both exogenous in endogenous potentials evoked by painful stimuli, and recorded over SI, parasylvian, and medial frontal cortex of awake humans, encode the intensity of painful stimuli and correlate with the pain evoked by painful stimuli.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electrodes
  • Evoked Potentials / radiation effects*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / radiation effects*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lasers / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Reaction Time / radiation effects
  • Seizures / surgery
  • Somatosensory Cortex / radiation effects*