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Papers of the Week

Papers: 9 Sep 2023 - 15 Sep 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Neuropathic Pain

2023 Sep 12

Neuromolecular Med


Optogenetic Inhibition of Glutamatergic Neurons in the Dysgranular Posterior Insular Cortex Modulates Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain in CCI-ION Rat.


Islam J, Kc E, Kim S, Chung MY, Park KS, Kim HK, Park YS


In individuals with chronic neuropathic pain, the posterior insular cortex (PIC) has been found to exhibit increased glutamatergic activity, and the dysgranular portion of PIC (DPIC) has been investigated as a novel cortical target for pain modulation. However, the role of DPIC glutamatergic neurons (DPICg) in trigeminal neuropathic pain (TNP) remains unclear. Here, we examined the outcomes of DPICg inhibition in a rat model of chronic constriction injury of the infraorbital nerve (CCI-ION). Animals were randomly divided into TNP, sham, and control groups. TNP animals underwent CCI-ION surgery. Either optogenetic or null viruses were delivered to the contralateral DPICg of TNP and sham animals. In vivo single-unit extracellular recordings from the ipsilateral spinal trigeminal nucleus caudalis (TNC) and contralateral ventral posteromedial (VPM) thalamus were obtained under both “ON” and “OFF” stimulation states. Behavioral responses during the stimulation-OFF and stimulation-ON phases were examined. Expression of c-Fos, pERK, and CREB immunopositive neurons were also observed. Optogenetic inhibition of contralateral DPICg decreased the neural firing rate in both TNC and VPM thalamus, the expression of sensory-responsive cell bodies, and transcriptional factors in the DPIC of TNP group. Improvements in hyperalgesia, allodynia, and anxiety-like responses in TNP animals were also observed during stimulation-ON condition. In fine, descending pain processing is influenced by neuroanatomical projections from the DPIC to the pain matrix areas, and DPICg could play a necessary role in this neural circuitry. Therefore, the antinociceptive effect of DPICg inhibition in this study may provide evidence for the therapeutic potential of DPICg in TNP.