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The neurophysiology of unmyelinated tactile afferents.

Review article
Authors Håkan Olausson
Johan Wessberg
India Morrison
Francis McGlone
Åke Vallbo
Published in Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews
Volume 34
Issue 2
Pages 185-91
ISSN 1873-7528
Publication year 2010
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Pages 185-91
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2008...
Keywords Afferent Pathways, physiology, Animals, Cerebral Cortex, physiology, physiopathology, Hair, physiology, Homeostasis, physiology, Humans, Mechanoreceptors, physiology, Nerve Fibers, Unmyelinated, physiology, Neurons, Afferent, physiology, Nociceptors, pathology, physiology, Touch, physiology, Touch Perception, physiology
Subject categories Neurophysiology

Abstract

CT (C tactile) afferents are a distinct type of unmyelinated, low-threshold mechanoreceptive units existing in the hairy but not glabrous skin of humans and other mammals. Evidence from patients lacking myelinated tactile afferents indicates that signaling in these fibers activate the insular cortex. Since this system is poor in encoding discriminative aspects of touch, but well-suited to encoding slow, gentle touch, CT fibers in hairy skin may be part of a system for processing pleasant and socially relevant aspects of touch. CT fiber activation may also have a role in pain inhibition. This review outlines the growing evidence for unique properties and pathways of CT afferents.

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