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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 Jul 2019 - 2 Aug 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Jul 29

Sci Rep



Bidirectional optogenetic modulation of prefrontal-hippocampal connectivity in pain-related working memory deficits.


Cardoso-Cruz H, Paiva P, Monteiro C, Galhardo V
Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 29; 9(1):10980.
PMID: 31358862.


Dysfunction of the prefrontal-hippocampal circuit has been identified as a leading cause to pain-related working-memory (WM) deficits. However, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly determined. To address this issue, we implanted multichannel arrays of electrodes in the prelimbic cortex (PL-mPFC), and in the dorsal hippocampal CA1 field (dCA1) to record the neural activity during the performance of a delayed non-match to sample (DNMS) task. The prefrontal-hippocampal connectivity was selectively modulated by bidirectional optogenetic inhibition or stimulation of local PL-mPFC glutamatergic calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase-II alpha (CaMKIIα) expressing neurons during the DNMS task delay-period. The within-subject behavioral performance was assessed using a persistent neuropathic pain model – spared nerve injury (SNI). Our results showed that the induction of the neuropathic pain condition affects the interplay between PL-mPFC and dCA1 regions in a frequency-dependent manner, and that occurs particularly across theta oscillations while rats performed the task. In SNI-treated rats, this disruption was reversed by the selective optogenetic inhibition of PL-mPFC CaMKIIα-expressing neurons during the last portion of the delay-period, but without any significant effect on pain responses. Finally, we found that prefrontal-hippocampal theta connectivity is strictly associated with higher performance levels. Together, our findings suggest that PL-mPFC CaMKIIα-expressing neurons could be modulated by painful conditions and their activity may be critical for prefrontal-hippocampal connectivity during WM processing.