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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Aug 2019 - 30 Aug 2019


Animal Studies

2019 Oct

Nat Neurosci



Editor's Pick

A neural circuit for comorbid depressive symptoms in chronic pain.


Zhou W, Jin Y, Meng Q, Zhu X, Bai T, Tian Y, Mao Y, Wang L, Xie W, Zhong H, Zhang N, Luo M-H, Tao W, Wang H, Li J, Li J, Qiu B-S, Zhou J-N, Li X, Xu H, et al.
Nat Neurosci. 2019 Oct; 22(10):1649-1658.
PMID: 31451801.


Comorbid depressive symptoms (CDS) in chronic pain are a common health problem, but the neural circuit mechanisms underlying these symptoms remain unclear. Here we identify a novel pathway involving 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) projections from the dorsal raphe nucleus (5-HT) to somatostatin (SOM)-expressing and non-SOM interneurons in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA). The SOM neurons project directly to the lateral habenula, an area known involved in depression. Inhibition of the 5-HT→SOM pathway produced depression-like behavior in a male mouse model of chronic pain. Activation of this pathway using pharmacological or optogenetic approaches reduced depression-like behavior in these mice. Human functional magnetic resonance imaging data showed that compared to healthy controls, functional connectivity between the CeA-containing centromedial amygdala and the DRN was reduced in patients with CDS but not in patients in chronic pain without depression. These findings indicate that a novel 5-HT→SOM→lateral habenula pathway may mediate at least some aspects of CDS.