Molecular mechanisms of pain in the anterior cingulate cortex.
ABSTRACT It is well known that peripheral sensory stimuli, including pain, trigger a series of neuronal activities along the somatosensory pathways as well as the neuronal network in the high brain structures. These neuronal activities not only produce appropriate physiological responses but also induce long-term plastic changes in some of the central synapses. It is believed that long-term synaptic changes help the brain to process and store new information. Such learning is critical for animals and humans to gain new knowledge of changing environment, generate appropriate emotional responses, and avoid dangerous stimuli in the future. In the case of permanent injury, however, the brain fails to distinguish the difference between "useful" and painful stimuli. Long-term synaptic changes work against the system and at least in part contribute to chronic pain. In this short article, the possible molecular mechanisms for long-term plasticity within the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) will be discussed and reviewed, and it is hypothesized that potentiation of excitatory responses within the ACC contributes to chronic pain and pain-related mental disorders.
- SourceAvailable from: Etienne Koechlin[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The prefrontal cortex (PFC) subserves cognitive control: the ability to coordinate thoughts or actions in relation with internal goals. Its functional architecture, however, remains poorly understood. Using brain imaging in humans, we showed that the lateral PFC is organized as a cascade of executive processes from premotor to anterior PFC regions that control behavior according to stimuli, the present perceptual context, and the temporal episode in which stimuli occur, respectively. The results support an unified modular model of cognitive control that describes the overall functional organization of the human lateral PFC and has basic methodological and theoretical implications.Science 12/2003; 302(5648):1181-5. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Two forms of activity-dependent long-term depression (LTD) in the CNS, as defined by their sensitivity to the blockade of NMDA receptors, are thought to be important in learning, memory, and development. Here, we report that NMDA receptor-independent LTD is the major form of long-term plasticity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Both L-type voltage-gated calcium channels and metabotropic glutamate receptors are required for inducing LTD. Amputation of a third hindpaw digit in an adult rat induced rapid expression of immediate early genes in the ACC bilaterally and caused a loss of LTD that persisted for at least 2 weeks. Our results suggest that synaptic LTD in the ACC may contribute to enhanced neuronal responses to subsequent somatosensory stimuli after amputation.Journal of Neuroscience 12/1999; 19(21):9346-54. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) plays an important role in higher brain functions including learning, memory, and persistent pain. Long-term potentiation of excitatory synaptic transmission has been observed in the ACC after digit amputation, which might contribute to plastic changes associated with the phantom pain. Here we report a long-lasting membrane potential depolarization in ACC neurons of adult rats after digit amputation in vivo. Shortly after digit amputation of the hind paw, the membrane potential of intracellularly recorded ACC neurons quickly depolarized from approximately -70 mV to approximately -15 mV and then slowly repolarized. The duration of this amputation-induced depolarization was about 40 min. Intracellular staining revealed that these neurons were pyramidal neurons in the ACC. The depolarization is activity-dependent, since peripheral application of lidocaine significantly reduced it. Furthermore, the depolarization was significantly reduced by a NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801. Our results provide direct in vivo electrophysiological evidence that ACC pyramidal cells undergo rapid and prolonged depolarization after digit amputation, and the amputation-induced depolarization in ACC neurons might be associated with the synaptic mechanisms for phantom pain.Molecular Pain 02/2005; 1:23. · 3.77 Impact Factor