Unmasking of an early laser evoked potential by a point localization task

Massimiliano Valeriani, Domenico Restuccia, Domenica Le Pera, Laura Fiaschetti, Pietro Tonali, Lars Arendt-Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The investigation of the CO2 laser evoked potential (LEP) modifications following a point localization task. Methods: LEPs were recorded from 10 healthy subjects in two different conditions. (1) Task condition: laser stimuli were shifted among 3 different locations on the right hand dorsum, and the subjects were asked to identify the stimulated area. The mean error rate in point localization was 4.5%. (2) Non-task condition: laser pulses were delivered on the first intermetacarpal space, and the subject was asked to count the number of stimuli. The mean error rate in counting was 5.8%. Results: In the task condition, the temporal traces contralateral to the stimulation showed an early positive component (eP, mean peak latency 83 ms) preceding the N1 negativity (mean peak latency 144 ms). At the eP peak latency, topographic maps showed a positivity highly focused on the contralateral temporal region. In the non-task recordings no reliable response was identifiable before the N1 potential. Conclusions: While no LEP component earlier than the middle-latency N1 potential can be recorded in the non-task condition, a positive response (eP) preceding the N1 component is identifiable in the contralateral temporal region during the spatial localization of painful stimuli. The eP scalp distribution is compatible with its origin from a radial source in the second somatosensory (or insular) area, thus suggesting that the opercular cortex is involved not only in the middle-latency (N1 potential), but also in early pain processing. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1927-1933
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • CO laser
  • Early evoked potential
  • Human brain
  • Pain
  • Point localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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