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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Jun 2024 - 28 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 07





Modulating Neural Circuits of Pain in Preclinical Models: Recent Insights for Future Therapeutics.


Viellard J, Bouali-Benazzouz R, Benazzouz A, Fossat P


Chronic pain is a pathological state defined as daily pain sensation over three consecutive months. It affects up to 30% of the general population. Although significant research efforts have been made in the past 30 years, only a few and relatively low effective molecules have emerged to treat chronic pain, with a considerable translational failure rate. Most preclinical models have focused on sensory neurotransmission, with particular emphasis on the dorsal horn of the spinal cord as the first relay of nociceptive information. Beyond impaired nociceptive transmission, chronic pain is also accompanied by numerous comorbidities, such as anxiety-depressive disorders, anhedonia and motor and cognitive deficits gathered under the term “pain matrix”. The emergence of cutting-edge techniques assessing specific neuronal circuits allow in-depth studies of the connections between “pain matrix” circuits and behavioural outputs. Pain behaviours are assessed not only by reflex-induced responses but also by various or more complex behaviours in order to obtain the most complete picture of an animal’s pain state. This review summarises the latest findings on pain modulation by brain component of the pain matrix and proposes new opportunities to unravel the mechanisms of chronic pain.