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Papers of the Week

Papers: 9 Nov 2019 - 15 Nov 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Nov 05

Cell Rep



Editor's Pick

Spontaneous Pain Disrupts Ventral Hippocampal CA1-Infralimbic Cortex Connectivity and Modulates Pain Progression in Rats with Peripheral Inflammation.


Ma L, Yue L, Zhang Y, Wang Y, Han B, Cui S, Liu F-Y, Wan Y, Yi M
Cell Rep. 2019 Nov 05; 29(6):1579-1593.e6.
PMID: 31693897.


Pain involves an intrinsically dynamic connectome characterized by fluctuating spontaneous brain activity and continuous neuroplastic changes of relevant circuits. Activity in the hippocampus-medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) pathway has been suggested to correlate with spontaneous pain and pain chronicity, but causal evidence is lacking. Here we combine longitudinal in vivo electrophysiological recording with behavioral testing and show that persistent spontaneous pain disrupts ventral hippocampal CA1-infralimbic cortex (vCA1-IL) connectivity and hippocampal modulation of IL neuronal activity in rats with peripheral inflammation. Chemo- and optogenetic rescue of vCA1-IL dysfunction relieves spontaneous pain. Circuit-specific overexpression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in vCA1-IL reverses electrophysiological changes, relieves spontaneous pain, and accelerates overall recovery from inflammatory pain. Our work identifies a neural pathway that specifically correlates with spontaneous pain and supports the significance of using a circuit dynamics-based strategy for more comprehensive understanding of circuitry mechanisms underlying chronic pain.