Effect of painful heterotopic stimulation on the cutaneous silent period in the upper limbs

Paolo Rossi, Francesco Pierelli, Leoluca Parisi, Armando Perrotta, Michelangelo Bartolo, Giuseppe Amabile, Mariano Serrao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the effect of heterotopic painful stimulation (HPS) on the cutaneous silent period (CSP) and the withdrawal flexor reflex (WFR) in the upper limbs, in an attempt to better identify the nociceptive component of the CSP and its functional relationship with the flexor reflex. Methods: The CSP at different stimulus intensities, the WFR and the H/M ratio were studied in 12 healthy adults. Neurophysiological measurements were recorded in the following 4 conditions: (1) control session; (2) non-painful session (dipping hand in water at 25°C); (3) painful (cold pressor test, CPT); and (4) after-effect (3-8 min after taking hand out of water at 5-6°C). Results: During the CPT, the duration of the high-threshold CSP was approximately 23% shorter than the baseline value, the high-threshold CSP latency was approximately 10% longer than the baseline value, and the mean RIII reflex area was approximately 40% smaller than the baseline reflex area (all P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Cutaneous silent period
  • Diffuse noxious inhibitory control
  • Flexor reflex
  • Upper limbs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)


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