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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Jan 2022 - 28 Jan 2022

Animal Studies

2022 Jan 24

J Neurosci

Long-Lasting, Pathway-Specific Impairment of a Novel Form of Spike-Timing-Dependent Long-Term Depression by Neuropathic Pain in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex.


Hogrefe N, Blom S M, Valentinova K, Ntamati N R, Jonker LJE, Nevian N E, Nevian T
J Neurosci. 2022 Jan 24.
PMID: 35078926.


Malfunctioning synaptic plasticity is one of the major mechanisms contributing to the development of chronic pain. We studied spike-timing dependent depression (tLTD) in the ACC of male mice, a brain region involved in processing emotional aspects of pain. tLTD onto layer 5 pyramidal neurons depended on postsynaptic calcium-influx through GluN2B-containing NMDARs and retrograde signaling via nitric oxide to reduce presynaptic release probability. After chronic constriction injury of the sciatic nerve, a model for neuropathic pain, tLTD was rapidly impaired; and this phenotype persisted even beyond the time of recovery from mechanical sensitization. Exclusion of GluN2B-containing NMDARs from the postsynaptic site specifically at projections from the anterior thalamus to the ACC caused the tLTD phenotype, whereas signaling downstream of nitric oxide synthesis remained intact. Thus, transient neuropathic pain can leave a permanent trace manifested in the disturbance of synaptic plasticity in a specific afferent pathway to the cortex.Synaptic plasticity is one of the main mechanisms that contributes to the development of chronic pain. Most studies have focused on potentiation of excitatory synaptic transmission, but very little is known about the reduction in synaptic strength. We have focused on the ACC, a brain region associated with the processing of emotional and affective components of pain. We studied spike-timing dependent LTD, which is a biologically plausible form of synaptic plasticity, which depends on the relative timing of presynaptic and postsynaptic activity. We found a long-lasting and pathway-specific suppression of the induction mechanism for spike-timing dependent LTD from the anterior thalamus to the ACC, suggesting that this pathology might be involved in altered emotional processing in pain.