The implementation of the Neuroid in the Gate Control System leads to new ideas about pain processing
Introduction: Several theories have been proposed to elucidate the mechanisms related with pain perception, among which, the Gate Control Theory (GCT) provides one of the most explicit explanations. This theory, as elegantly conceived, is unable to explain how the Frequency-Intensity (F-I) curves exhibited by Aβ- and C-fibres influence pain processing. In this paper, a novel neuron-model known as the Neuroid, which emphasizes the functional rather the physiological character of nerve cells, was used as the main building block to replicate the Gate Control System (GCS). Methods: Two Aβ-fibre models were built: one model that preserved the paradoxical relation between the activation threshold and the F-I curve slope, and one model based on the hypothetical average response across the receptive field. Results: The results suggest that the average response of the Aβ-fibres does not increase monotonically but reaches a plateau for high intensity stimuli. In addition, it was seen that activation of C-fibres does not necessarily imply the activation of projection neurons and, therefore, the onset of pain sensation. Also, we observed that the activation of Aβ-fibres may both, decrease and increase the activity of the projections neurons, an aspect which has not been directly described in previous works. Conclusion: Hypothetical implications arise as a consequence of the implementation of the Neuroid, specifically, about the correlation between the intensity of stimulation and the physiological pain threshold.
Gate control theory, Neuron-model, Frequency-Intensity curve, Pain modulation