Pain-Associated Neural Plasticity in the Parabrachial to Central Amygdala Circuit
In addition to the canonical spino-thalamo-cortical pathway, lines of recently accumulated anatomical and physiological evidence suggest that projections originating in nociception-specific neurons in lamina I of the dorsal horn or the spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve to the lateral parabrachial nucleus (LPB) and then to the central amygdala (CeA) play essential roles in the nociception-emotion link and its tightening in chronic pain. With recent advances in the artificial manipulation of central neuronal activity, such as those with optogenetics, it is now possible to address many unanswered questions regarding the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the plastic changes in this pathway and their role in the pain chronification process.
KeywordsCentral sensitization Nociception-emotion association Optogenetics
The authors acknowledge invaluable scientific contributions by Ayako M Watabe, Yuta Miyazawa, Kei Shinohara, Yuya Okutsu, Ryo Ikeda, Mariko Ito, Mariko Sugimoto, and Tsuyoshi Tokita. Supported by Grant-in-Aid for Exploratory Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to F.K. (No. 23650208), the MEXT-Supported Program for the Strategic Research Foundation at Private Universities (No. S1311009) to F.K., Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) to F.K. (Nos. 25293136 and 18H02722) and a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) to Y.T. (Nos. 15K19194 and 17K09042).
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