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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Jan 2022 - 14 Jan 2022

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2022 Jan-Jul

Neurobiol Pain


Evaluation of calcium-sensitive adenylyl cyclase AC1 and AC8 mRNA expression in the anterior cingulate cortex of mice with spared nerve injury neuropathy.


The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is a critical region of the brain for the emotional and affective components of pain in rodents and humans. Hyperactivity in this region has been observed in neuropathic pain states in both patients and animal models and ablation of this region from cingulotomy, or inhibition with genetics or pharmacology can diminish pain and anxiety. Two adenylyl cyclases (AC), AC1 and AC8 play an important role in regulating nociception and anxiety-like behaviors through an action in the ACC, as genetic and pharmacological targeting of these enzymes reduces mechanical hypersensitivity and anxiety-like behavior, respectively. However, the distribution of these ACs in the ACC has not been studied in the context of neuropathic pain. To address this gap in knowledge, we conducted RNAscope hybridization to assess AC1 and AC8 mRNA distribution in mice with spared nerve injury (SNI). Given the key role of AC1 in nociception in neuropathic, inflammatory and visceral pain animal models, we hypothesized that AC1 would be upregulated in the ACC of mice following nerve injury. This hypothesis was also founded on data showing increased AC1 expression in the ACC of mice with zymosan-induced visceral inflammation. We found that AC1 and AC8 are widely expressed in many regions of the mouse brain including the hippocampus, ACC, medial prefrontal cortex and midbrain regions, but AC1 is more highly expressed. Contrary to our hypothesis, SNI causes an increase in AC8 mRNA expression in NMDAR-2B (Nr2b) positive neurons in the contralateral ACC but does not affect AC1 mRNA expression. Our findings show that changes in mRNA expression in the ACC are insufficient to explain the important role of this AC in mechanical hypersensitivity in mice following nerve injury and suggest a potential unappreciated role of AC8 in regulation of ACC synaptic changes after nerve injury.