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Papers of the Week

Papers: 20 May 2023 - 26 May 2023


Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology


Mol Pain



Silent synapses in pain-related anterior cingulate cortex.


Zhuo M


Synaptic plasticity such as Long-term potentiation (LTP) is a key mechanism for learning in central synapses including the cortex. There are two least two major forms of LTPs: presynaptic LTP and postsynaptic LTP. For postsynaptic LTP, the potentiation of AMPA receptor-mediated responses through protein phosphorylation is thought to be a key mechanism. Silent synapses have been reported in the hippocampus, but it is thought to be mainly present in the cortex during early development, and may contribute to maturation of the cortical circuit. However, recent several lines of evidence demonstrate that silent synapses may exist in mature synapses of adult cortex, and they can be recruited by LTP-inducing protocols, as well as chemical-induced LTP. In pain-related cortical regions, silent synapses may not only contribute to cortical excitation after peripheral injury, but also the recruitment of new cortical circuits as well. Thus, it is proposed that silent synapses and modification of functional AMPA receptors and NMDA receptors may play important roles in chronic pain, including phantom pain.