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Papers of the Week

Papers: 21 Oct 2023 - 27 Oct 2023

2023 Oct 23



Sex-dependent effect of inflammatory pain on negative affective states is prevented by kappa opioid receptors blockade in the nucleus accumbens shell.


Lorente JD, Cuitavi J, Rullo L, Candeletti S, Romualdi P, Hipólito L


Pain comorbidities include several psychological disorders, such as anxiety and anhedonia. However, the way pain affects male and female individuals and by which mechanism is not well understood. Previous research shows that pain induces alterations in the dynorphinergic pathway within the mesocorticolimbic system (MCLS), together with a relationship between corticotropin-releasing system and dynorphin release in the MCLS. Here, we analyse the sex and time course-dependent effects of pain on negative affect. Additionally, we study the implication of dynorphinergic and corticotropin releasing factor in these pain related behaviours. We used behavioural pharmacology and biochemical tools to characterise negative affective states induced by inflammatory pain in male and female rats, and the alterations in the dynorphinergic and the corticotropin systems within the MCLS. Female rats showed persistent anxiety-like and reversible anhedonia-like behaviours derived from inflammatory pain. Additionally, we found alterations in dynorphin and corticotropin releasing factor in NAc and amygdala, which suggests sex-dependent dynamic adaptations. Finally blockade on the kappa opioid receptor in the NAc confirmed its role in pain-induced anxiety-like behaviour in female rats. Our results show sex and time-dependent anxiety- and anhedonia-like behaviours induced by the presence of pain in female rats. Furthermore, we replicated previous data, pointing to the KOR/DYN recruitment in the NAc as a key neurological substrate mediating pain-induced behavioural alterations. This research studies the mechanisms underlying these behaviours, to better understand the emotional dimension of pain.