Appearance of new receptive fields in rat dorsal horn neurons following noxious stimulation of skeletal muscle: a model for referral of muscle pain?

Neurosci Lett. 1993 Apr 16;153(1):9-12. doi: 10.1016/0304-3940(93)90064-r.


To test the hypothesis that painful stimuli to skeletal muscle lead to a widespread unmasking of synaptic connections in dorsal horn neurons, intramuscular injections of bradykinin (BKN) were made outside the receptive fields (RFs) of these cells in the rat. Following BKN injections, new RFs all of which were located in the deep tissues and had high mechanical thresholds appeared in 9 out of 21 (42.8%) nociceptive dorsal horn neurons which originally had a single RF in deep tissues or in the skin. The appearance of new RFs may lead to a mislocation of the source of pain if in fact the impulse activity of a nociceptive dorsal horn neuron contains information on the site of the stimulus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bradykinin / pharmacology
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / drug effects
  • Spinal Cord / physiology*
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Bradykinin