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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Feb 2023 - 3 Mar 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Neurobiology, Neuroimaging

2023 Feb 03





Projections from the Rostral Zona Incerta to the Thalamic Paraventricular Nucleus Mediate Nociceptive Neurotransmission in Mice.


Wu FL, Chen SH, Li JN, Zhao LJ, Wu XM, Hong J, Zhu KH, Sun HX, Shi SJ, Mao E, Zang WD, Cao J, Kou ZZ, Li YQ


Zona incerta (ZI) is an integrative subthalamic region in nociceptive neurotransmission. Previous studies demonstrated that the rostral ZI (ZIR) is an important gamma-aminobutyric acid-ergic (GABAergic) source to the thalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVT), but whether the ZIR-PVT pathway participates in nociceptive modulation is still unclear. Therefore, our investigation utilized anatomical tracing, fiber photometry, chemogenetic, optogenetic and local pharmacological approaches to investigate the roles of the ZIR-PVT pathway in nociceptive neurotransmission in mice. We found that projections from the GABAergic neurons in ZIR to PVT were involved in nociceptive neurotransmission. Furthermore, chemogenetic and optogenetic activation of the ZIR-PVT pathway alleviates pain, whereas inhibiting the activities of the ZIR-PVT circuit induces mechanical hypersensitivity and partial heat hyperalgesia. Importantly, in vivo pharmacology combined with optogenetics revealed that the GABA-A receptor (GABAR) is crucial for GABAergic inhibition from ZIR to PVT. Our data suggest that the ZIR-PVT pathway acts through GABAR-expressing glutamatergic neurons in PVT mediates nociceptive neurotransmission.