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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Jun 2024 - 21 Jun 2024

2024 May 22

Int J Mol Sci




Activation of Pedunculopontine Tegmental Nucleus Alleviates the Pain Induced by the Lesion of Midbrain Dopaminergic Neurons.


Zhang S, Zhang J, Yang Y, Zang W, Cao J


The loss of midbrain dopaminergic (DA) neurons is the fundamental pathological feature of Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD causes chronic pain in two-thirds of patients. Recent studies showed that the activation of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg) can effectively relieve inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain. The PPTg is located in the pontomesencephalic tegmentum, a target of deep brain stimulation (DBS) treatment in PD, and is involved in motor control and sensory integration. To test whether the lesion of midbrain DA neurons induced pain hypersensitivity, and whether the chemogenetic activation of the PPTg could modulate the pain, the AAV-hM3Dq receptor was transfected and expressed into the PPTg neurons of 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned mice. In this study, von Frey, open field, and adhesive tape removal tests were used to assess animals’ pain sensitivity, locomotor activity, and sensorimotor function and somatosensory perception, respectively. Here, we found that the lesion of midbrain DA neurons induced a minor deficit in voluntary movement but did not affect sensorimotor function and somatosensory perception in the tape removal test. The results showed that lesion led to pain hypersensitivity, which could be alleviated both by levodopa and by the chemogenetic activation of the PPTg. Activating the PPTg may be a potential therapeutic strategy to relieve pain phenotypes in PD.