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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Jul 2021 - 23 Jul 2021


Animal Studies

2021 Jul 20

Cell Rep



Oxytocin in the anterior cingulate cortex attenuates neuropathic pain and emotional anxiety by inhibiting presynaptic long-term potentiation.


Li X-H, Matsuura T, Xue M, Chen Q-Y, Liu R-H, Lu J-S, Shi W, Fan K, Zhou Z, Miao Z, Yang J, Wei S, Wei F, Chen T, Zhuo M
Cell Rep. 2021 Jul 20; 36(3):109411.
PMID: 34289348.


Oxytocin is a well-known neurohypophysial hormone that plays an important role in behavioral anxiety and nociception. Two major forms of long-term potentiation, presynaptic LTP (pre-LTP) and postsynaptic LTP (post-LTP), have been characterized in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Both pre-LTP and post-LTP contribute to chronic-pain-related anxiety and behavioral sensitization. The roles of oxytocin in the ACC have not been studied. Here, we find that microinjections of oxytocin into the ACC attenuate nociceptive responses and anxiety-like behavioral responses in animals with neuropathic pain. Application of oxytocin selectively blocks the maintenance of pre-LTP but not post-LTP. In addition, oxytocin enhances inhibitory transmission and excites ACC interneurons. Similar results are obtained by using selective optical stimulation of oxytocin-containing projecting terminals in the ACC in animals with neuropathic pain. Our results demonstrate that oxytocin acts on central synapses and reduces chronic-pain-induced anxiety by reducing pre-LTP.