New method for quantification and statistical analysis of nociceptive reflex receptive fields in humans

Neziri, Alban Y; Curatolo, Michele; Bergadano, Alessandra; Petersen-Felix, Steen; Dickenson, Anthony; Arendt-Nielsen, Lars; Andersen, Ole K (2009). New method for quantification and statistical analysis of nociceptive reflex receptive fields in humans. Journal of neuroscience methods, 178(1), pp. 24-30. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2008.11.009

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A method for quantifying nociceptive withdrawal reflex receptive fields in human volunteers and patients is described. The reflex receptive field (RRF) for a specific muscle denotes the cutaneous area from which a muscle contraction can be evoked by a nociceptive stimulus. The method is based on random stimulations presented in a blinded sequence to 10 stimulation sites. The sensitivity map is derived by interpolating the reflex responses evoked from the 10 sites. A set of features describing the size and location of the RRF is presented based on statistical analysis of the sensitivity map within every subject. The features include RRF area, volume, peak location and center of gravity. The method was applied to 30 healthy volunteers. Electrical stimuli were applied to the sole of the foot evoking reflexes in the ankle flexor tibialis anterior. The RRF area covered a fraction of 0.57+/-0.06 (S.E.M.) of the foot and was located on the medial, distal part of the sole of the foot. An intramuscular injection into flexor digitorum brevis of capsaicin was performed in one spinal cord injured subject to attempt modulation of the reflex receptive field. The RRF area, RRF volume and location of the peak reflex response appear to be the most sensitive measures for detecting modulation of spinal nociceptive processing. This new method has important potential applications for exploring aspects of central plasticity in volunteers and patients. It may be utilized as a new diagnostic tool for central hypersensitivity and quantification of therapeutic interventions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > Clinic and Policlinic for Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > DKV - Anaesthesiology

UniBE Contributor:

Neziri, Alban Y.; Curatolo, Michele and Bergadano, Alessandra








Jeannie Wurz

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:03

Last Modified:

23 Jan 2018 12:17

Publisher DOI:


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Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 105850)

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