Dr. LaMotte's laboratory investigates the peripheral and central neural mechanisms of pain, itch and touch.
- Experiments on pain examine the functional properties of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons in the rodent. We are currently interested in how electrophysiological and neurochemical changes in these properties, occurring after a chronic compression of the DRG (CCD model), lead to behavioral signs of neuropathic pain.
- Experiments on itch use psychophysical methods in humans to measure the pruritic and nociceptive sensations and altered sensory states produced by the application of pruritic substances to the skin. As part of a collaborative effort with two other laboratories, our psychophysical findings will be compared with electrophysiologically recorded responses of peripheral nerve fibers and of spinothalamic neurons to the same pruritic stimuli.
- Experiments on touch have investigated the peripheral neural coding of object texture, shape and softness.