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Event-related Potentials to Intranasal Trigeminal Stimuli Change in Relation to Stimulus Concentration and Stimulus Duration

Frasnelli, Johannes*; Lötsch, Jörn; Hummel, Thomas*

Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology: February 2003 - Volume 20 - Issue 1 - p 80–86

Few data are available on the relation of EEG-derived trigeminal event-related potentials (ERPs) to stimulus duration or stimulus concentration. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyze the relation between ERP components and both stimulus duration and stimulus concentration. Twenty healthy young subjects participated. Trigeminal ERPs were recorded after stimulation with CO2. Five concentrations (45 to 65% volume per volume CO2) and five stimulus durations (100 to 300 msec) were used. Trigeminal ERPs were quantified in terms of amplitudes and latencies of its major peaks N410 (termed N1) and P622 (termed P3). The relation between stimulus duration, concentration, and amplitudes or latencies of trigeminal ERP components could be described as a model of power, following the formula p = b + k · Ig1·Dg2. A linear relationship was found between stimulus concentration, amplitude N1, and amplitude P3, and between stimulus duration and amplitude P3 respectively. Furthermore, a linear relationship was seen between intensity ratings, and stimulus duration and concentration. These data confirm that the different ERP components encode different stimulus characteristics. Specifically, later components of the trigeminal ERP encode not only stimulus concentration but, other than earlier ERP components, also encode stimulus duration. Thus, they reflect the integration of stimuli over relatively long periods of time.

*Smell and Taste Clinic, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Dresden Medical School; and †Pharmazentrum Frankfurt, Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Supported by the Environmental Sensory Research Institute, Baltimore, MD, U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Thomas Hummel, Smell and Taste Clinic, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Dresden Medical School, Fetscherstr. 74, 01307 Dresden, Germany; e-mail:

Copyright © 2003 American Clinical Neurophysiology Society