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Pain differs: Researchers unveil distinct nerve circuits

Clinically, multiple lines of evidence show that chronic pain and symptoms of depression appear frequently. Patients with both pain and depression are likely to become insensitive to drug therapy, indicating heat illness. The neurological mechanism with this comorbidity remains unclear.

In a study published in Natural NeuroscienceThe research team led by Professor ZHANG Zhi and Dr. LI Juan of the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) reported on the separate thalamic-cortical circuits underlying the pain symptoms resulting from tissue injury and depression-like states.

Being the gateway to the cerebral cortex and considered the main source of “pain-causing neurons” at the highest level of the nervous system in narcotic animals, the hypothalamus integrates physical signals for emotions and pain and directs them to the cortex through the thalamic-cortical structure to distinguish between and process. Thus, the thalamic cortical circuits for pain management are a hotspot of research.

Taking advantage of mouse models of tissue pain associated with tissue injury as well as in vivo calcium imaging and multiple electrophysiological recordings, the researchers found an improved circuit from the posterior hypothalamic nucleus (PO) to the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) under tissue injury. Circumstances,.

Interestingly, for mice with depression-like conditions, which also showed severe pain, the regulation of the PO -> S1 circuit failed to become operative. The sensitivity of pain associated with depression is mediated by another pathway from the thalamic nucleus adjacent to the pile (PF) to the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC).

These results provide new insight into the pathogenesis of physical pain.

A new understanding of the neural circuit may add to the precision of these targeted treatment strategies in clinical use as physical intervention of specific brain regions or neural circuits is the current treatment option towards drug insensitive neurodegenerative diseases.

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