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Papers of the Week

Papers: 16 Jan 2021 - 22 Jan 2021

Animal Studies

2021 Jan 12


Chronic pain susceptibility is associated with anhedonic behavior and alterations in the accumbal ubiquitin-proteasome system.


Guimarães MR, Anjo SI, Cunha AM, Esteves M, Sousa N, Almeida A, Manadas B, Leite-Almeida H
Pain. 2021 Jan 12.
PMID: 33449505.


It remains unknown why upon similar acute/subacute painful conditions, pain persists in some individuals while in others it resolves. Genetic factors, mood, and functional alterations, particularly involving the mesolimbic network, appear to be key. In order to explore potential susceptibility/resistance factors, we screened a large population of rats with a peripheral neuropathy and we isolated a small subset (<15%) that presented high thresholds (HT) to mechanical allodynia (reduced pain manifestation). The phenotype was sustained over 12 weeks and was associated with higher hedonic behavior when compared with low threshold subjects (LT). The nucleus accumbens (NAc) of HT and LT animals were isolated for proteomic analysis by Sequential Window Acquisition of All Theoretical Mass Spectra (SWATH-MS). Two hundred and seventy-nine proteins displayed different expression between LT and HT animals/subjects. Among several protein families, the proteasome pathway repeatedly emerged in gene ontology enrichment and KEGG analyses. Several alpha and beta 20S proteasome subunits were increased in LT when compared to HT animals (e.g., PSMα1, PSMα2, and PSMβ5). On the contrary, UBA6, an upstream ubiquitin-activating enzyme, was decreased in LT animals. Altogether these observations are consistent with an overactivation of the accumbal proteasome pathway in animals that manifest pain and depressive-like behaviors after a neuropathic injury. All the proteomic data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD022478.