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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Feb 2024 - 1 Mar 2024

2024 Feb 28



Low-frequency (5-Hz) stimulation of ventrolateral periaqueductal gray modulates the descending serotonergic system in the peripheral neuropathic pain.


Park M, Koh CS, Chang H, Kim TJ, Mun W, Chang JW, Jung HH


Neuropathic pain is a type of chronic pain that entails severe prolonged sensory dysfunctions caused by a lesion of the somatosensory system. Many of those suffering from the condition do not experience significant improvement with existing medications, resulting in various side effects. In this study, Sprague-Dawley male rats were used, and long-term deep brain stimulation of the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray was conducted in a rat model of spared nerve injury. We found that 5-Hz deep brain stimulation effectively modulated mechanical allodynia and induced neuronal activation in the rostral ventromedial medulla, restoring impaired descending serotonergic system. At the spinal level, glial cells were still activated but only the 5-HT1a receptor in the spinal cord was activated, implying its inhibitory role in mechanical allodynia. This study found that peripheral neuropathy caused dysfunction in the descending serotonergic system, and prolonged stimulation of ventrolateral periaqueductal gray can modulate the pathway in an efficient manner. This work would provide new opportunities for the development of targeted and effective treatments for this debilitating disease, possibly giving us lower chances of side effects from repeated high-frequency stimulation or long-term use of medication.