Nociception

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nociception is the neural processes of encoding and processing noxious stimuli. In other words, nociception is the detection of tissue damage by specialized transducers (nociceptors) attached to “A delta” and “C” peripheralnerve fibers. The term "Nociception" is often used interchangably with the term "Pain", but technically refers to the transmission of nociceptive information to the brain without reference to the production of emotional or other types of response to the noxious stimulus. A nociceptor is a primary afferent neuron that is preferentiallysensitive to a noxious stimulus.

Nociception is an afferent activity which is produced in the peripheral and central nervous system by stimuli that have the potential to damage tissue. This activity is initiated by nociceptors, which are pain receptors, that can detect mechanical, thermal or chemical changes above a set threshold. Once stimulated, a nociceptor transmits a signal along the spinal cord, to the brain. Nociception triggers a variety of autonomic responses and may also result in the experience of pain in sentient beings.