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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Jul 2023 - 28 Jul 2023


Human Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Neuromodulation


2023 Jul 19

Mol Neurobiol


Electroacupuncture Inhibits Pain Memory and Related Anxiety-Like Behaviors by Blockading the GABA Receptor Function in the Midcingulate Cortex.


Li X, Zhu Y, Sun H, Shen Z, Sun J, Xiao S, He X, Liu B, Wang Y, Hu Y, Liu B, Liang Y, Jiang Y, Du J, Xu C, Fang J, Shao X


Pain memory is commonly considered an underlying cause of chronic pain and is also responsible for a range of anxiety. Electroacupuncture (EA) has been shown to ameliorate pain memories and exert anti-anxiety effects. Previous research has indicated that GABAergic neurons and/or GABA receptors (GABARs) in the midcingulate cortex (MCC) have potential associations with chronic pain and anxiety. However, there is no known empirical research that has specifically studied the effects of EA on the GABAergic system in the MCC. Here, we used cross-injection of carrageenan to establish the pain memory rats model. Immunofluorescence were used to detect the excitability of GABAergic neurons within MCC. Von Frey filament, elevated zero maze, and open field tests were used to measure mechanical allodynia and anxiety-like behaviors, combined with chemogenetic and pharmacologic technologies. Finally, this study provides evidence that pain memories contribute to generalized negative emotions and that downregulating the activity of GABAergic neurons within MCC could block pain memories and reverse anxiety emotion. Specifically, GABAR is involved in pain memory and related anxiety-like behaviors. Activation of GABAergic neurons in the MCC did not reverse the effects of EA on pain memories and related anxiety-like behaviors, whereas these effects could be reversed by a GABAR agonist. These findings highlight the functional significance of GABAR in the EA-mediated attenuation of pain memories and related anxiety-like behaviors in rats.