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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Feb 2024 - 23 Feb 2024

2024 Feb 16

Mol Neurobiol


Astrocyte Activation in the ACC Contributes to Comorbid Anxiety in Chronic Inflammatory Pain and Involves in The Excitation-Inhibition Imbalance.


Wei N, Guo Z, Qiu M, Ye R, Shao X, Liang Y, Liu B, Fang J, Fang J, Du J


Neurons within the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) orchestrate the co-occurrence of chronic pain and anxiety. The ACC hyperactivity plays a crucial role in the emotional impact of neuropathic pain. Astrocyte-mediated neuroinflammatory is responsible for regulating the balance between excitation-inhibition (E/I) in the brain. However, there is limited understanding of the possible contributions of astrocytes in the ACC to comorbidity of anxiety and chronic inflammatory pain. This paper aims to investigate the possible contribution of astrocytes in the ACC to the comorbidity between anxiety and chronic inflammatory pain, as well as their involvement in the E/I imbalance of pyramidal cells. Our results show that CFA rats displayed allodynia and anxiety-like behaviors. The E/I balance in the ACC shifts to excitement in comorbidity of chronic pain and anxiety by western blotting, and electrophysiological recording. Result of RNA-Seq also indicated that E/I imbalance and neuroinflammation of ACC were involved in pain-anxiety comorbidity. Then, positive cells of GFAP but not Iba1 in the contralateral ACC were increased; the mRNA expression of GFAP and its activation-related proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β) in the contralateral ACC were also elevated. Furthermore, specific chemogenic inhibition of ACC astrocytes reversed comorbid pain and anxiety and suppressed high ACC excitability. Our data suggest that astrocytes participate in comorbid pain and anxiety and excitation-inhibition imbalance in ACC. Inhibition astrocyte activation can reduce anxiety related to pain and restore the imbalance in the ACC. These findings shed light on the involvement of astrocytes in comorbid conditions, offering valuable insights into a potential therapeutic approach for the co-occurrence of chronic pain and anxiety.