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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Mar 2020 - 3 Apr 2020

Animal Studies

2020 Mar 26

Mol Brain



Ascending noradrenergic excitation from the locus coeruleus to the anterior cingulate cortex.


Koga K, Yamada A, Song Q, Li X-H, Chen Q-Y, Liu R-H, Ge J, Zhan C, Furue H, Zhuo M, Chen T
Mol Brain. 2020 Mar 26; 13(1):49.
PMID: 32216807.


Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) plays important roles in sensory perception including pain and itch. Neurons in the ACC receive various neuromodulatory inputs from subcortical structures, including locus coeruleus noradrenaline (LC-NA) neurons. Few studies have been reported about synaptic and behavioral functions of LC-NA projections to the ACC. Using viral-genetic method (AAV-DIO-eYFP) on DBH-cre mice, we found that LC-NA formed synaptic connections to ACC pyramidal cells but not interneurons. This is further supported by the electron microscopic study showing NAergic fibers contact the presynaptic inputs and post-synaptic areas of the pyramidal cells. NA application produced both pre- and post-synaptic potentiation effects in ACC excitatory transmission in vivo and in vitro. Activation of LC-NA projection to the ACC by optogenetic method produced enhancement of excitatory transmission in vitro and induced scratching and behavioral sensitization for mechanical stimulation. Our results demonstrate that LC-NA projections enhance or facilitate brain responses to pain and itch by potentiating glutamatergic synaptic transmissions in the ACC.