Electrical stimulation of the rat ventral midbrain elicits antinociception via the dorsolateral funiculus

M. J. Guinan, J. M. Rothfeld, S. Pretel, E. S. Culhane, Earl Carstens, L. R. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The pain-suppressive effects of focal electrical stimulation of sites throughout the ventral midbrain were examined in awake rats. Chronic bipolar electrodes were implanted in medial and lateral regions of the midbrain. Current thresholds for suppression of the tail-flick reflex in response to noxious heat were determined for both a biphasic and a monophasic stimulation parameter at each site. Stimulation of areas throughout the ventral midbrain produced tail-flick suppression (TFS), but no one area was consistently effective in all animals. Monophasic and biphasic stimulation were qualitatively equal in the duration of TFS and the distribution of effective sites. The production of TFS was not correlated with other behavioral reactions to brain stimulation. TFS appeared to be mediated by non-opiate pathways since naloxone administration (10 mg/kg) had no discernible effect on the production of TFS. The current threshold for producing TFS was extremely variable over both short (one half hour) and long (one week) intervals. The incidence of TFS from previously effective sites was significantly less following bilateral dorsolateral funiculus (DLF) lesions, indicating that the antinociceptive effects of ventral midbrain stimulation are mediated by this spinal pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-348
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 24 1989


  • Antinociception
  • Midbrain
  • Naloxone
  • Pain
  • Rat
  • Stimulation-produced analgesia
  • Tail-flick reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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