Functional roles of descending projections from the cerebral cortex to the trigeminal spinal subnucleus caudalis in orofacial nociceptive information processing

Masayuki Kobayashi, Yuka Nakaya, Satomi Kobayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The trigeminal spinal subnucleus caudalis (Sp5C), also known as the medullary dorsal horn, receives orofacial somatosensory inputs, particularly nociceptive inputs, from the trigeminal nerve. In the Sp5C, excitatory and inhibitory neurons, glutamatergic and GABAergic/glycinergic neurons, respectively, form the local circuits. The axons of the glutamatergic neurons in lamina I ascend toward the thalamic and parabrachial nuclei, and this projection is the main pathway of orofacial nociception. Additionally, the axons of the higher brain regions, including the locus coeruleus, dorsal raphe, and cerebral cortex, are sent to the Sp5C. Highlight: Among these descending projections, this review focuses on the functional profiles of the corticotrigeminal projections to the Sp5C, along with their anatomical aspects. The primary and secondary somatosensory and insular cortices are of particular interest. Conclusion: Corticotrigeminal projections from the somatosensory cortex to the Sp5C play a suppressive role in nociceptive information processing, whereas recent studies have demonstrated a facilitative role of the insular cortex in nociceptive information processing at the Sp5C level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-307
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Oral Biosciences
Volume66
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Insular cortex
  • Optogenetics
  • Pain
  • Somatosensory cortex

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