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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Jun 2019 - 28 Jun 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Oct

Neurochem Int


Mechanical allodynia induced by optogenetic sensory nerve excitation activates dopamine signaling and metabolism in medial nucleus accumbens.


Sugiyama E, Kondo T, Kuzumaki N, Honda K, Yamanaka A, Narita M, Suematsu M, Sugiura Y
Neurochem Int. 2019 Oct; 129:104494.
PMID: 31233839.


The mesolimbic dopaminergic signaling, such as that originating from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons in the medial part of the nucleus accumbens (mNAc), plays a role in complex sensory and affective components of pain. To date, we have demonstrated that optogenetic sensory nerve stimulation rapidly alters the dopamine (DA) content within the mNAc. However, the physiological role and biochemical processes underlying such rapid and regional dynamics of DA remain unclear. In this study, using imaging mass spectrometry (IMS), we observed that sensitized pain stimulation by optogenetic sensory nerve activation increased DA and 3-Methoxytyramine (3-MT; a post-synaptic metabolite obtained following DA degradation) in the mNAc of the experimental mice. To delineate the mechanism associated with elevation of DA and 3-MT, the de novo synthesized DA in the VTA/substantia nigra terminal areas was evaluated using IMS by visualizing the metabolic conversion of stable isotope-labeled tyrosine (CN-Tyr) to DA. Our approach revealed that at steady state, the de novo synthesized DA occupied >10% of the non-labeled DA pool in the NAc within 1.5 h of isotope-labeled Tyr administration, despite no significant increase following pain stimulation. These results suggested that sensitized pain triggered an increase in the release and postsynaptic intake of DA in the mNAc, followed by its degradation, and likely delayed de novo DA synthesis. In conclusion, we demonstrated that short, peripheral nerve excitation with mechanical stimulation accelerates the mNAc-specific DA signaling and metabolism which might be associated with the development of mechanical allodynia.