The overall aim of this proposal is to understand the specific functions of the primary (SI) and secondary (SII) somatosensory cortices and the thalamus in the representation of sensory aspects of pain. Although the important roles of SI, SII, and thalamus in the representation of the location, intensity, and modality of pain have long been recognized, their specific functions and the underlying anatomical and neural basis have not yet been established. Our limited knowledge of the fine-scale functional organization of the nociceptive system and of the electrophysiological properties of nociceptive neurons has become a major obstacle to a complete understanding of the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon of pain. To address these issues, we propose to use a multi-model approach including submillimeter fMRI, unit electrophysiology, and histology in anesthetized monkeys to identify nociceptive regions and quantitatively characterize their response properties to noxious and innocuous thermal and mechanical stimuli, to examine the electrophysiological properties of nociceptive neurons, and to establish their functional and anatomical connections. By taking advantages of the high signal to noise ratio at 9.4 T, we propose to use the functional connectivity measure to probe the functional hierarchical relationship among nociceptive regions. There are three specific aims.
Aim 1 proposes to determine the cortical representation of nociception in SI and SII cortices.
Aim 2 proposes to examine the representation of nociception in thalamus..
Aim 3 proposes to determine the functional and anatomical connectivity of nociceptive regions in SI, SII and thalamus. At the completion of this study, we will have a better understanding about the functional and anatomical organization of the nociceptive system in SI, SII, and thalamus and the electrophysiological basis for nociceptive processing. This knowledge is crucial for understanding the neural mechanisms of pain and ultimately will provide a crucial link between the perception of pain and its underlying neural mechanisms and anatomical framework.

Public Health Relevance

This study centers on understanding where and how the sensory aspects of pain perception such as the location (where), intensity (how strong), and quality of pain are encoded in the brain. A more complete understanding of the flowchart of painful information processing in the thalamocortical circutry would promote new therapeutic ideas, which will lead to more rational and reliable treatments for chronic pain.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Somatosensory and Chemosensory Systems Study Section (SCS)
Program Officer
Gnadt, James W
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Chen, Li Min; Yang, Pai-Feng; Wang, Feng et al. (2017) Biophysical and neural basis of resting state functional connectivity: Evidence from non-human primates. Magn Reson Imaging 39:71-81
Shi, Zhaoyue; Wu, Ruiqi; Yang, Pai-Feng et al. (2017) High spatial correspondence at a columnar level between activation and resting state fMRI signals and local field potentials. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:5253-5258
Schilling, Kurt G; Gao, Yurui; Stepniewska, Iwona et al. (2017) The VALiDATe29 MRI Based Multi-Channel Atlas of the Squirrel Monkey Brain. Neuroinformatics 15:321-331
Wu, Ruiqi; Yang, Pai-Feng; Chen, Li Min (2017) Correlated Disruption of Resting-State fMRI, LFP, and Spike Connectivity between Area 3b and S2 following Spinal Cord Injury in Monkeys. J Neurosci 37:11192-11203
Wilson 3rd, George H; Yang, Pai-Feng; Gore, John C et al. (2016) Correlated inter-regional variations in low frequency local field potentials and resting state BOLD signals within S1 cortex of monkeys. Hum Brain Mapp 37:2755-66
Gao, Yurui; Parvathaneni, Prasanna; Schilling, Kurt G et al. (2016) A 3D high resolution ex vivo white matter atlas of the common squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus) based on diffusion tensor imaging. Proc SPIE Int Soc Opt Eng 9784:
Wu, Tung-Lin; Mishra, Arabinda; Wang, Feng et al. (2016) Effects of isoflurane anesthesia on resting-state fMRI signals and functional connectivity within primary somatosensory cortex of monkeys. Brain Behav 6:e00591
Wu, Tung-Lin; Wang, Feng; Anderson, Adam W et al. (2016) Effects of anesthesia on resting state BOLD signals in white matter of non-human primates. Magn Reson Imaging 34:1235-1241
Wang, Feng; Li, Ke; Mishra, Arabinda et al. (2016) Longitudinal assessment of spinal cord injuries in nonhuman primates with quantitative magnetization transfer. Magn Reson Med 75:1685-96
Shi, Zhaoyue; Rogers, Baxter P; Chen, Li Min et al. (2016) Realistic models of apparent dynamic changes in resting-state connectivity in somatosensory cortex. Hum Brain Mapp 37:3897-3910

Showing the most recent 10 out of 20 publications