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Papers of the Week

Papers: 10 Dec 2022 - 16 Dec 2022

Animal Studies

2022 Dec 15

J Clin Invest



TIAM1-mediated synaptic plasticity underlies comorbid depression-like and ketamine antidepressant-like actions in chronic pain.


Ru Q, Lu Y, Saifullah A B, Blanco FA, Yao C, Cata JP, Li D-P, Tolias KF, Li L
J Clin Invest. 2022 Dec 15; 132(24).
PMID: 36519542.


Chronic pain often leads to depression, increasing patient suffering and worsening prognosis. While hyperactivity of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) appears to be critically involved, the molecular mechanisms underlying comorbid depressive symptoms in chronic pain remain elusive. T cell lymphoma invasion and metastasis 1 (Tiam1) is a Rac1 guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) that promotes dendrite, spine, and synapse development during brain development. Here, we show that Tiam1 orchestrates synaptic structural and functional plasticity in ACC neurons via actin cytoskeleton reorganization and synaptic N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) stabilization. This Tiam1-coordinated synaptic plasticity underpins ACC hyperactivity and drives chronic pain-induced depressive-like behaviors. Notably, administration of low-dose ketamine, an NMDAR antagonist emerging as a promising treatment for chronic pain and depression, induces sustained antidepressant-like effects in mouse models of chronic pain by blocking Tiam1-mediated maladaptive synaptic plasticity in ACC neurons. Our results reveal Tiam1 as a critical factor in the pathophysiology of chronic pain-induced depressive-like behaviors and the sustained antidepressant-like effects of ketamine.