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"Fire Dol" - spinal cord nociceptors


"Fire Dol" - spinal cord nociceptors

from 45.00


Etched by hand with numbers and equations. This is the first of the "Dols" series (Units of pain), illustrating the human spinal cord in transverse cross section. These pieces focus on how differnt proteins trigger sensory neurons in the spinal cord to transmit information to the brain to experience various types of pain. This piece used the TRPV1 protein in response to thermal noxious stimulous of temperature over 43C.

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The noxious stimulant to produce the experience of pain here is fire, illustrated with the average temperature of a camp fire (1571F or 855C).

The Grey Butterfly:

The grey butterfly you see here is the portion of the spinal cord that is filled with neuron cell bodies. The top half of the butterfly are the Dorsal Horns (facing the back of the body) composed of sensory neurons with afferent nerve fibers exiting to become half of the spinal nerves. The lower half of the butterfly are the ventral horns (facing the front of the body) composed of motor neurons with efferent nerve fibers exiting to become the other half of the spinal nerves which exit either side of the spine between the vertibral foramen.

The data in the Grey Butterfly:

TRV1 protein (NP_061197) responds to temperature over 43C or the compound capsaicin, which triggers sensory neurons to tell the brain to experience the pain of heat. There is also a reflex arc which occurs in the spinal cord itself, resulting in the body part in contact with the heat to draw back.

Substance P (C63H98N18O13S) is important in how the brain experiences pain and also aids in vasodilation.

Glutamate (C5H9O4) is the neural transmitter involved in the sensory neurons creating an action potential.

Acetylcholine (C7NH16O2) is the neural transmitter involved in the motor neurons creating an action potential, which would respond in the reflex arc.

The reaction time for these motor neurons to draw back the accosted body part is roughly .1 to .2 seconds.

The white matter of the spinal cord

The white mater of the spinal cord is where you will find axons, carrying the signals from the neuronal bodies. These are white because they are myelenated, allowing for fast transmission of signals across long distances (200m/s versus 2m/s). This area is drawn with a series of equations which calculate the speed and efficiency of signal transmission along the axon given resistance,  capacitance, membrane permeability and voltage. These equations are:

  • The GHK equation relating to electrodiffusion
  • Cable Theory detailing the electric current moving through the axon given its resistance and capacitance
  • The Nernst Equation - relating to reversal potential of the initial action potential from the cell body
  • Ohm's Law
  • potassium (K+) and sodium ions (Na+)