Pain often brings about anxiety and depression, which in turn can worsen the pain. The Journal of Neuroscience has published a paper entitled GABAergic CaMKIIα+ Amygdala Output Attenuates Pain and Modulates Emotional-motivational Behaviour via Parabrachial Inhibition. In their Significance Statement, researchers explain that “Pain and emotion interact on multiple levels of the nervous system. Both positive and negative emotion may have analgesic effects. However, while the neuronal mechanisms underlying ‘stress-induced analgesia’ have been the focus of many studies, the neuronal substrates underlying analgesia accompanied by appetitive emotional-motivational states have received far less attention.”
The authors continue, “The current study focuses on a subpopulation of amygdala neurons that form inhibitory synapses within the brainstem lateral parabrachial nucleus. We show that activation of these amygdalo-parabrachial projections inhibits pain processing, while also reducing behaviours related to negative affect and enhancing behaviours related to positive affect.” In conclusion, “Since the affective state of pain patients strongly influences their prognosis, we envision that recruitment of this pathway in a clinical setting could potentially promote pain resilience and recovery.”
Read the press release.
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