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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Apr 2023 - 28 Apr 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Musculoskeletal Pain

2023 Apr 26

NPJ Parkinsons Dis




Periaqueductal grey and spinal cord pathology contribute to pain in Parkinson’s disease.


Buhidma Y, Hobbs C, Malcangio M, Duty S


Pain is a key non-motor feature of Parkinson’s disease (PD) that significantly impacts on life quality. The mechanisms underlying chronic pain in PD are poorly understood, hence the lack of effective treatments. Using the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesioned rat model of PD, we identified reductions in dopaminergic neurons in the periaqueductal grey (PAG) and Met-enkephalin in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord that were validated in human PD tissue samples. Pharmacological activation of D-like receptors in the PAG, identified as the DRD5 phenotype located on glutamatergic neurons, alleviated the mechanical hypersensitivity seen in the Parkinsonian model. Downstream activity in serotonergic neurons in the Raphé magnus (RMg) was also reduced in 6-OHDA lesioned rats, as detected by diminished c-FOS positivity. Furthermore, we identified increased pre-aggregate α-synuclein, coupled with elevated activated microglia in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord in those people that experienced PD-related pain in life. Our findings have outlined pathological pathways involved in the manifestation of pain in PD that may present targets for improved analgesia in people with PD.