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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Feb 2023 - 3 Mar 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Neurobiology, Sex Differences

Neuropathic Pain


Front Cell Neurosci



Impaired muscarinic modulation of the rat prelimbic cortex in neuropathic pain is sexually dimorphic and associated with cold allodynia.


Jefferson T, Kim HR, Martina M


Cholinergic modulation of the brain cortex is critical for cognitive processes, and altered cholinergic modulation of the prefrontal cortex is emerging as an important mechanism of neuropathic pain. Sex differences in pain prevalence and perception are well known, yet the precise nature of the mechanisms responsible for sexual dimorphism in chronic neuropathic pain are poorly understood. Here we investigated potential sex differences in cholinergic modulation of layer five commissural pyramidal neurons of the rat prelimbic cortex in control conditions and in the SNI model of neuropathic pain. We discovered that cholinergic modulation is stronger in cells from male compared with female rats, and that in neuropathic pain rats, cholinergic excitation of pyramidal neurons was more severely impaired in males than in females. Finally, we found that selective pharmacological blockade of the muscarinic M1 subunit in the prefrontal cortex induces cold sensitivity (but not mechanical allodynia) in naïve animals of both sexes.