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Papers of the Week

Papers: 20 Apr 2019 - 26 Apr 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Jan-Dec

Mol Pain


A Novel Neuromodulation Strategy to Enhance the Prefrontal Control to Treat Pain.


Zhou H, Zhang Q, Martinez E, Dale J, Robinson EJ, Huang D, Wang J
Mol Pain. 2019 Jan-Dec; 15:1744806919845739.
PMID: 31012383.


Effective pharmacological treatment options for chronic pain remain very limited, and continued reliance on opioid analgesics has contributed to an epidemic in the U.S. On the other hand, non-pharmacologic neuromodulatory interventions provide a promising avenue for relief of chronic pain without the complications of dependence and addiction. An especially attractive neuromodulation strategy is to optimize endogenous pain regulatory circuits. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is known to provide top-down control of pain, and hence neuromodulation methods that selectively enhance the activities in this brain region during pain episodes have the potential to provide analgesia. In this study, we designed a low-frequency (2 Hz) electrical stimulation protocol to provide temporally and spatially specific enhancement of the prefrontal control of pain in rats. We showed that low-frequency electrical stimulation of the prelimbic region of the PFC relieved both sensory and affective responses to acute pain in naïve rats. Furthermore, we found that low-frequency electrical stimulation of the PFC also attenuated mechanical allodynia in a rat model of chronic pain. Together, our findings demonstrated that low-frequency electrical stimulation of the PFC represents a promising new method of neuromodulation to inhibit pain.