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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Feb 2024 - 1 Mar 2024

2024 Feb 13



A nociceptive amygdala-striatal pathway for chronic pain aversion.


Wojick JA, Paranjapye A, Chiu JK, Mahmood M, Oswell C, Kimmey BA, Wooldridge LM, McCall NM, Han A, Ejoh LL, Chehimi SN, Crist RC, Reiner BC, Korb E, Corder G


The basolateral amygdala (BLA) is essential for assigning positive or negative valence to sensory stimuli. Noxious stimuli that cause pain are encoded by an ensemble of ceptive BLA projection neurons (BLA ensemble). However, the role of the BLA ensemble in mediating behavior changes and the molecular signatures and downstream targets distinguishing this ensemble remain poorly understood. Here, we show that the same BLA ensemble neurons are required for both acute and chronic neuropathic pain behavior. Using single nucleus RNA-sequencing, we characterized the effect of acute and chronic pain on the BLA and identified enrichment for genes with known functions in axonal and synaptic organization and pain perception. We thus examined the brain-wide targets of the BLA ensemble and uncovered a previously undescribed ceptive hotspot of the nucleus accumbens shell (NAcSh) that mirrors the stability and specificity of the BLA ensemble and is recruited in chronic pain. Notably, BLA ensemble axons transmit acute and neuropathic ceptive information to the NAcSh, highlighting this ceptive amygdala-striatal circuit as a unique pathway for affective-motivational responses across pain states.