Letter | Published:

Anaesthetisation of prefrontal cortex and response to noxious stimulation

Abstract

REPORTS indicate that responses to pain may be modified by damage to the frontal lobes (see refs 1 and 2). Nevertheless, neither the nature of the change nor the degree to which any effect of damage is localised anatomically has been firmly established. I have systematically examined the function of the prefrontal cortex in response to an aversive stimulus in the rat. Small quantities of a short-acting anaesthetic, procaine hydrochloride, were injected to block directly the neural function of specific areas within the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex in the rat occupies both a lateral region, the dorsal bank of the rhinal sulcus, and a medial region, the pregenual medial wall of the hemisphere3. In the rat, the prefrontal cortex is involved in brain-stimulation reward4. I suggest that, in addition, the prefrontal cortex acts to limit the response to painful stimulation, and that this anti-nociceptive function is localised in or near the sulcal region.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Fulton, J. F., Frontal Lobotomy and Affective Behaviour (Chapman and Hall, London, 1951).

  2. 2

    Melzack, R., Puzzle of Pain (Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1973).

  3. 3

    Leonard, C. M., Brain Res., 12, 321–343 (1969).

  4. 4

    Rolls, E. T., and Cooper, S. J., Brain Res., 60, 351–368 (1973); Physiol. Behav., 12, 563–571 (1974); Expl Neurol., 42, 687–699 (1974).

  5. 5

    Evans, W. O., Psychopharmacologia, 2, 318–325 (1961).

  6. 6

    König, J. F. R., and Klippel, R. A., Rat Brain (Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, 1963).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.