Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathophysiology of Pain

Yael Shilo, Peter J. Pascoe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


The ability to react to environmental change is crucial for the survival of an organism, and an essential prerequisite is the capacity to detect and respond to aversive stimuli. It is important to differentiate nociception from pain, which always encompasses an emotional component. This chapter focuses on several important transduction channels. Descending control arises from the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG), the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM), the dorsal reticular nucleus (DRt), the nucleus raphe magnus (NRM), and the ventrolateral medulla (VLM). These pathways utilize different neurotransmitter systems, primarily opioidergic, but also nonopioid systems, including dopaminergic, serotonergic, cannabinergic, and monoaminergic. The major descending systems are reviewed in the chapter. Visceral pain results from the activation of nociceptors of organs in the thoracic, abdominal, or pelvic cavities, and it is usually described as a deep, dull sensation. The anatomy and physiology underpinning the processing of pain is complex and current understanding is evolving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPain Management in Veterinary Practice
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781118999196, 9780813812243
StatePublished - Dec 31 2013


  • Immune system
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Nociceptors
  • Pain
  • Visceral pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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