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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 Nov 2021 - 3 Dec 2021

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2021 Nov 30

Cell Rep



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Decreased dopaminergic inhibition of pyramidal neurons in anterior cingulate cortex maintains chronic neuropathic pain.


Lançon K, Qu C, Navratilova E, Porreca F, Séguéla P
Cell Rep. 2021 Nov 30; 37(9):109933.
PMID: 34852233.


Pyramidal neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a prefrontal region involved in processing the affective components of pain, display hyperexcitability in chronic neuropathic pain conditions, and their silencing abolishes hyperalgesia. We show that dopamine, through D1 receptor (D1R) signaling, inhibits pyramidal neurons of mouse ACC by modulation of hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels. Activation of G-coupled D1R by dopamine induces the opening of HCN channels at physiological membrane potentials, driving a significant decrease in input resistance and excitability. Systemic L-DOPA in chronic neuropathic mice rescues HCN channel activity, normalizes pyramidal excitability in ACC, and blocks mechanical and thermal allodynia. Moreover, microinjection of a selective D1R agonist in the ACC relieves the aversiveness of ongoing neuropathic pain, while an ACC D1R antagonist blocks gabapentin- and lidocaine-evoked antinociception. We conclude that dopaminergic inhibition via D1R in ACC plays an analgesic role in physiological conditions and is decreased in chronic pain.