Decreased spontaneous activity and altered evoked nociceptive response of rat thalamic submedius neurons to lumbar vertebra thrust

Academic Article


  • The thalamus is a central structure important to modulating and processing all mechanoreceptor input destined for the cortex. A large number of diverse mechanoreceptor endings are stimulated when a high velocity low amplitude thrust is delivered to the lumbar spine during spinal manipulation. The objective of this study was to determine if a lumbar thrust alters spontaneous and/or evoked nociceptive activity in medial thalamic submedius (Sm) neurons. Extracellular recordings were obtained from 94 thalamic Sm neurons in 54 urethane-anesthetized adult Wistar rats. Spontaneous activity was recorded 5 min before and after an L5 control (no thrust) and thrust (85% rat body weight; 100 ms) procedure. In a subset of responsive nociceptive-specific neurons, mean changes in noxious-evoked response (10-s pinch with clip; 795 g) at three sites (tail, contra- and ipsilateral hindpaw) were determined following an L5 thrust. Mean changes in Sm spontaneous activity (60 s bins) and evoked noxious response were compared using a mixed model repeated measures ANOVA with Bonferroni post hoc t tests and paired t tests, respectively. Compared to control, spontaneous Sm activity decreased 180–240 s following the lumbar thrust (p < 0.005). Inhibitory evoked responses were attenuated in the contralateral hindpaw following an L5 thrust compared to control (p < 0.05). No other changes in spontaneous or noxious-evoked Sm activity were found. A delayed, but prolonged suppression of spontaneous Sm activity along with changes in noxious-evoked inhibitory responses in the contralateral hindpaw following lumbar vertebra thrust suggest that thalamic submedius neurons may play a role in central pain modulation related to manual therapy intervention.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Reed WR; Cranston JT; Onifer SM; Little JW; Sozio RS
  • Start Page

  • 2883
  • End Page

  • 2892
  • Volume

  • 235
  • Issue

  • 9