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Papers of the Week

Papers: 4 Nov 2023 - 10 Nov 2023

2023 Nov 03

Brain Res Bull


Upregulation of Calhm2 in the anterior cingulate cortex contributes to the maintenance of bilateral mechanical allodynia and comorbid anxiety symptoms in inflammatory pain conditions.


Li X, Xiong M, Gao Y, Xu X, Ke C


Peripheral inflammation-induced chronic pain tends to evoke concomitant anxiety disorders. It’s common knowledge that the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) plays a vital role in maintaining pain modulation and negative emotions. However, the potential mechanisms of chronic inflammation pain and pain-related anxiety remain elusive. Here, it was reported that injecting complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) unilaterally resulted in bilateral mechanical allodynia and anxiety-like symptoms in mice via behavioral tests. In addition, CFA induced the bilateral upregulation and activation of calcium homeostasis modulator 2 (Calhm2) in ACC pyramidal neurons by quantitative analysis and double immunofluorescence staining. The knockdown of Calhm2 in the bilateral ACC by a lentiviral vector harboring ribonucleic acid (RNA) interference sequence reversed CFA-induced pain behaviors and neuronal sensitization. Furthermore, the modulating of ACC pyramidal neuronal activities via a designer receptor exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADD)-hM4D(Gi) greatly changed Calhm2 expression, mechanical paw withdrawal thresholds (PWTs) and comorbid anxiety symptoms. Moreover, it was found that Calhm2 regulates inflammation pain promoting the upregulation of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor 2B (NR2B) subunits. Calhm2 knockdown in ACC exhibited a significant decrease in NR2B expression. These results demonstrated that Calhm2 in ACC pyramidal neurons modulates chronic inflammation pain and pain-related anxiety symptoms, which provides a novel underlying mechanism for the development of inflammation pain.