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Papers of the Week

Papers: 4 Apr 2020 - 10 Apr 2020


Animal Studies

2020 Apr 07

Acta Neuropathol Commun



Tacr3 in the lateral habenula differentially regulates orofacial allodynia and anxiety-like behaviors in a mouse model of trigeminal neuralgia.


Cui W-Q, Zhang W-W, Chen T, Li Q, Xu F, Mao-Ying Q-L, Mi W-L, Wang Y-Q, Chu Y-X
Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2020 Apr 07; 8(1):44.
PMID: 32264959.


Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is debilitating and is usually accompanied by mood disorders. The lateral habenula (LHb) is considered to be involved in the modulation of pain and mood disorders, and the present study aimed to determine if and how the LHb participates in the development of pain and anxiety in TN. To address this issue, a mouse model of partial transection of the infraorbital nerve (pT-ION) was established. pT-ION induced stable and long-lasting primary and secondary orofacial allodynia and anxiety-like behaviors that correlated with the increased excitability of LHb neurons. Adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated expression of hM4D(Gi) in glutamatergic neurons of the unilateral LHb followed by clozapine-N-oxide application relieved pT-ION-induced anxiety-like behaviors but not allodynia. Immunofluorescence validated the successful infection of AAV in the LHb, and microarray analysis showed changes in gene expression in the LHb of mice showing allodynia and anxiety-like behaviors after pT-ION. Among these differentially expressed genes was Tacr3, the downregulation of which was validated by RT-qPCR. Rescuing the downregulation of Tacr3 by AAV-mediated Tacr3 overexpression in the unilateral LHb significantly reversed pT-ION-induced anxiety-like behaviors but not allodynia. Whole-cell patch clamp recording showed that Tacr3 overexpression suppressed nerve injury-induced hyperexcitation of LHb neurons, and western blotting showed that the pT-ION-induced upregulation of p-CaMKII was reversed by AAV-mediated Tacr3 overexpression or chemicogenetic inhibition of glutamatergic neurons in the LHb. Moreover, not only anxiety-like behaviors, but also allodynia after pT-ION were significantly alleviated by chemicogenetic inhibition of bilateral LHb neurons or by bilateral Tacr3 overexpression in the LHb. In conclusion, Tacr3 in the LHb plays a protective role in treating trigeminal nerve injury-induced allodynia and anxiety-like behaviors by suppressing the hyperexcitability of LHb neurons. These findings provide a rationale for suppressing unilateral or bilateral LHb activity by targeting Tacr3 in treating the anxiety and pain associated with TN.