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Understanding the responsiveness of C-fibres 

Understanding the responsiveness of C-fibres
Understanding the responsiveness of C-fibres

Jean-Sébastien Walczak

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date: 19 September 2021

In the paper discussed in this chapter, Ainsley Iggo used electrophysiology to characterize mechanosensory fibres from the saphenous nerve in cats. Using fine techniques of dissection he recorded from single units and therefore could discriminate between the various types of sensitivity of afferent fibres. This article describes properties of primary afferent neurons in response to precise calibrated mechanical stimuli and focused on mechanical sensitivity of C-fibres. In addition, the manuscript describes the properties of skin-receptor fields. The paper showed that not all C-fibres responded to high-intensity stimuli and that receptive fields were quite small. In addition, it provided a qualitative evaluation of stimuli necessary to activate those fibres. Hence, by isolating fibres that responded only to strong stimulation, this article showed that the peripheral nervous system is equipped with a specific apparatus for detecting nociceptive stimuli; this was a great step forward in understanding the physiology of pain.

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