Dopamine receptor D2, but not D1, mediates descending dopaminergic pathway-produced analgesic effect in a trigeminal neuropathic pain mouse model. Academic Article uri icon


  • Neuropathic pain represents a challenge to clinicians because it is resistant to commonly prescribed analgesics due to its largely unknown mechanisms. Here, we investigated a descending dopaminergic pathway-mediated modulation of trigeminal neuropathic pain. We performed chronic constriction injury of the infraorbital nerve from the maxillary branch of trigeminal nerve to induce trigeminal neuropathic pain in mice. Our retrograde tracing showed that the descending dopaminergic projection from hypothalamic A11 nucleus to spinal trigeminal nucleus caudalis is bilateral. Optogenetic/chemogenetic manipulation of dopamine receptors D1 and D2 in the spinal trigeminal nucleus caudalis produced opposite effects on the nerve injury-induced trigeminal neuropathic pain. Specific excitation of dopaminergic neurons in the A11 nucleus attenuated the trigeminal neuropathic pain through the activation of D2 receptors in the spinal trigeminal nucleus caudalis. Conversely, specific ablation of the A11 dopaminergic neurons exacerbated such pain. Our results suggest that the descending A11-spinal trigeminal nucleus caudalis dopaminergic projection is critical for the modulation of trigeminal neuropathic pain and could be manipulated to treat such pain.

published proceedings

  • Pain

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, S., Tang, Y., Shu, H., Tatum, D., Bai, Q., Crawford, J., ... Tao, F.

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Liu, Sufang||Tang, Yuanyuan||Shu, Hui||Tatum, Delton||Bai, Qian||Crawford, Joshua||Xing, Ying||Lobo, Mary Kay||Bellinger, Larry||Kramer, Phillip||Tao, Feng

publication date

  • January 2019

published in