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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Dec 2022 - 23 Dec 2022

2022 Dec 20

Neurosci Bull

Thalamocortical Circuit Controls Neuropathic Pain via Up-regulation of HCN2 in the Ventral Posterolateral Thalamus.


Yan Y, Zhu M, Cao X, Xu G, Shen W, Li F, Zhang J, Luo L, Zhang X, Zhang D, Liu T
Neurosci Bull. 2022 Dec 20.
PMID: 36538279.


The thalamocortical (TC) circuit is closely associated with pain processing. The hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) 2 channel is predominantly expressed in the ventral posterolateral thalamus (VPL) that has been shown to mediate neuropathic pain. However, the role of VPL HCN2 in modulating TC circuit activity is largely unknown. Here, by using optogenetics, neuronal tracing, electrophysiological recordings, and virus knockdown strategies, we showed that the activation of VPL TC neurons potentiates excitatory synaptic transmission to the hindlimb region of the primary somatosensory cortex (S1HL) as well as mechanical hypersensitivity following spared nerve injury (SNI)-induced neuropathic pain in mice. Either pharmacological blockade or virus knockdown of HCN2 (shRNA-Hcn2) in the VPL was sufficient to alleviate SNI-induced hyperalgesia. Moreover, shRNA-Hcn2 decreased the excitability of TC neurons and synaptic transmission of the VPL-S1HL circuit. Together, our studies provide a novel mechanism by which HCN2 enhances the excitability of the TC circuit to facilitate neuropathic pain.