Contact heat evoked potentials as a valid means to study nociceptive pathways in human subjects

Andrew C.N. Chen, David M. Niddam, Lars Arendt-Nielsen

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136 Scopus citations


Contact heat evoked potentials (CHEPs) have been difficult to elicit due to slow temperature rise times. A recently developed heat-foil technology was used to elicit pain and CHEPs. Two groups of subjects were separately stimulated at the left arm with contact heat via one fast-acting (70°C/s) heat-foil thermode. A set of CHEPs was recorded, each at three subjective intensities: warm; slight; and moderate pain. In CHEPs, the 3D topography exhibited four components: T3-T4/N450; Cz/N550; Cz/P750; and Pz/P1000. A vertex topography map was observed in the late Cz/N550-Cz/P750 and parietal topography in the very-late Pz/P1000 components. Consistent statistical values in the peak latencies and amplitudes were noted between consecutive investigations. The correlation between the pain intensity ratings and the major Cz/P750 amplitudes was highly significant in each study. Our validity tests suggested CHEPs to be useful for research and clinical applications in studying human pain activation related to thermal and nociceptive pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-82
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 18 Dec 2001


  • Consistency
  • Contact heat evoked potentials
  • Late/very-late components
  • Pain perception
  • Thin-fibre afferent


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