Predictability of painful stimulation modulates the somatosensory-evoked potential in the rat

Manon W H Schaap, Hugo van Oostrom, Arie Doornenbal, Annemarie M Baars, Saskia S Arndt, Ludo J Hellebrekers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Somatosensory-evoked potentials (SEPs) are used in humans and animals to increase knowledge about nociception and pain. Since the SEP in humans increases when noxious stimuli are administered unpredictably, predictability potentially influences the SEP in animals as well. To assess the effect of predictability on the SEP in animals, classical fear conditioning was applied to compare SEPs between rats receiving SEP-evoking electrical stimuli either predictably or unpredictably. As in humans, the rat's SEP increased when SEP-evoking stimuli were administered unpredictably. These data support the hypothesis that the predictability of noxious stimuli plays a distinctive role in the processing of these stimuli in animals. The influence of predictability should be considered when studying nociception and pain in animals. Additionally, this finding suggests that animals confronted with (un)predictable noxious stimuli can be used to investigate the mechanisms underlying the influence of predictability on central processing of noxious stimuli.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e61487
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Animals
    • Electric Stimulation
    • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory
    • Male
    • Pain
    • Rats


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