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Papers of the Week

2020 Nov 23

Mol Brain



Manganese-enhanced MRI depicts a reduction in brain responses to nociception upon mTOR inhibition in chronic pain rats.


Neuropathic pain induced by a nerve injury can lead to chronic pain. Recent studies have reported hyperactive neural activities in the nociceptive-related area of the brain as a result of chronic pain. Although cerebral activities associated with hyperalgesia and allodynia in chronic pain models are difficult to represent with functional imaging techniques, advances in manganese (Mn)-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) could facilitate the visualization of the activation of pain-specific neural responses in the cerebral cortex. In order to investigate the alleviation of pain nociception by mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) modulation, we observed cerebrocortical excitability changes and compared regional Mn enhancement after mTOR inhibition. At day 7 after nerve injury, drugs were applied into the intracortical area, and drug (Vehicle, Torin1, and XL388) effects were compared within groups using MEMRI. Therein, signal intensities of the insular cortex (IC), primary somatosensory cortex of the hind limb region, motor cortex 1/2, and anterior cingulate cortex regions were significantly reduced after application of mTOR inhibitors (Torin1 and XL388). Furthermore, rostral-caudal analysis of the IC indicated that the rostral region of the IC was more strongly associated with pain perception than the caudal region. Our data suggest that MEMRI can depict pain-related signal changes in the brain and that mTOR inhibition is closely correlated with pain modulation in chronic pain rats.