Physiology of Nociceptors

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


Nociceptors are a specialized class of primary afferents that respond to noxious or injurious stimuli. Unmyelinated (C-fiber) nociceptors are responsible for the burning pain sensation from noxious heat stimuli and from prolonged mechanical stimuli. Myelinated (A-fiber) nociceptors are thought to be responsible for the sharp, pricking pain associated with application of intense heat or sharp objects. An enhanced pain in response to cutaneous stimuli (primary hyperalgesia) develops at the site of tissue injury and is thought to be mediated by an enhanced responsiveness (sensitization) of primary afferent nociceptors. Hyperalgesia also develops in a large area of uninjured skin surrounding the injury site (secondary hyperalgesia) and most likely is due to sensitization of neurons in the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPain
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780123708809
StatePublished - 2008


  • A-fiber
  • C-fiber
  • Electrophysiology
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperalgesia
  • Myelinated fibers
  • Neural encoding
  • Nociceptor
  • Noxious
  • Pain
  • Primary afferents
  • Psychophysics
  • Sensitization
  • Unmyelinated fibers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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