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Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 Jul 2020 - 24 Jul 2020

Animal Studies

2020 Jul 01


Editor's Pick

The Parabrachial Nucleus Directly Channels Spinal Nociceptive Signals to the Intralaminar Thalamic Nuclei, but Not the Amygdala.


Deng J, Zhou H, Lin J-K, Shen Z-X, Chen W-Z, Wang L-H, Li Q, Mu D, Wei Y-C, Xu X-H, Sun Y-G
Neuron. 2020 Jul 01.
PMID: 32649865.


The parabrachial nucleus (PBN) is one of the major targets of spinal projection neurons and plays important roles in pain. However, the architecture of the spinoparabrachial pathway underlying its functional role in nociceptive information processing remains elusive. Here, we report that the PBN directly relays nociceptive signals from the spinal cord to the intralaminar thalamic nuclei (ILN). We demonstrate that the spinal cord connects with the PBN in a bilateral manner and that the ipsilateral spinoparabrachial pathway is critical for nocifensive behavior. We identify Tacr1-expressing neurons as the major neuronal subtype in the PBN that receives direct spinal input and show that these neurons are critical for processing nociceptive information. Furthermore, PBN neurons receiving spinal input form functional monosynaptic excitatory connections with neurons in the ILN, but not the amygdala. Together, our results delineate the neural circuit underlying nocifensive behavior, providing crucial insight into the circuit mechanism underlying nociceptive information processing.