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Yunwei Feng, Trefford L. Simpson; The Inhibitory Interaction between Human Corneal and Conjunctival Sensory Channels. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(4):1251-1255. doi: 10.1167/iovs.04-1191.
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purpose. To explore human corneal and conjunctival sensory channels at suprathreshold level.
methods. Ten healthy human subjects participated in the study. The Belmonte pneumatic esthesiometer was used to apply mechanical and chemical stimuli to the central cornea and temporal conjunctiva of the left eye. Stimuli were applied in a paired and unpaired way for conjunctival stimulation. A 100-point visual analog scale (VAS) was used to rate the intensity of the stimulus.
results. The magnitudes of the sensation evoked from the conjunctiva were different when using different methods for presenting stimuli to the ocular surface. When stimuli were applied to the conjunctiva alone, the magnitude of the sensation was stronger than when the stimuli were applied in pairs to the cornea and conjunctiva for both mechanical (P = 0.04) and chemical (P = 0.02) stimulation.
conclusions. The relatively strong discomfort evoked from the cornea appears to suppress partially the relatively weaker conjunctival stimulation. This manifested as the conjunctival sensory transducer function being shallower (less intense sensation) when immediately preceded by corneal stimulation than when the conjunctival sensory transducer functions were measured alone (unpaired). The underlying mechanism could be adaptation or some other inhibitory effect, such as diffuse noxious inhibitory control. At some level therefore, corneal and conjunctival sensory channels are not independent.
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