Response characteristics of single neurons in the medial portion of the reticular formation of the medulla were recorded extracellularly in unanesthetized, decerebrate cats immobilized with gallamine. Electrode tracts were confirmed histologically. Peripheral electrical stimulation consisted of a supramaximal pulse train of 250-500 msec, at a frequency of 80 Hz, applied to foot pads. Physiological stimulation consisted of touch, hair and joint movement, and deep pressure and pinch sufficient to elicit limb with-drawal. Fifty-three neurons with spontaneous activities of varying frequencies were encountered, few of which responded to more than one modality. Responses to electrical and mechanical noxious stimulation were characterized by increases or decreases in background firing rates, followed by prolonged afterdischarges or extended silent periods. Stimuli of less than noxious intensity did not evoke afterdischarges or prolonged inhibition. A correlation between reproducible response patterns of single neurons in nucleus gigantocellularis of cats and peripheral noxious stimulation is demonstrated. © 1974.
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