Mechanisms of Central Pain Modulation: Literature Review

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Schilin Wen; Javiera Muñoz; Marcelo Mancilla; Thomas Bornhardt; Andrés Riveros & Verónica Iturriaga


Pain perception results from multiple and dynamic mechanisms in the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system that inhibit or facilitate stimulation and nociceptive response. However, neuromodulation is mainly a function of the CNS. Nociceptive stimulus is detected by peripheral neurons receptors that synapse with the secondary afferent neurons of the spinal cord. These fibers cross to conform the ascending nociceptive pathways. Once the subcortical structures are reached, the thalamus`s neurons are activated; the thalamus send the stimulus to the somatosensory cortex, triggering the conscious perception of pain and activating the descending inhibitory system. For the nociceptive modulation to be carried out, the participation of various substances or neurotransmitters that connect specialized CNS areas is necessary. Therefore, the aim of this study was to review the literature regarding the mechanisms involved in central pain modulation processes.

KEY WORDS: Pain; Nociceptive pain; Chronic pain; Neurophysiology; Neuroanatomy; Neural Inhibition.

How to cite this article

WEN, S.; MUÑOZ, J.; MANCILLA, M.; BORNHARDT, T.; RIVEROS, A. & ITURRIAGA, V. Mechanisms of Central Pain Modulation: Literature Review. Int. J. Morphol., 38(6):1803-1809, 2020.