Optogenetic Activation of Dopamine Receptor D1 and D2 Neurons in Anterior Cingulate Cortex Differentially Modulates Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain
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Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is a critical brain center for chronic pain processing. Dopamine signaling in the brain has been demonstrated to contribute to descending pain modulation. However, the role of ACC dopamine receptors in chronic neuropathic pain remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the effect of optogenetic activation of ACC dopamine receptors D1- and D2-expressing neurons on trigeminal neuropathic pain. Chronic constriction injury of infraorbital nerve (CCI-ION) was carried out to induce trigeminal neuropathic pain in mice. We conducted optogenetic stimulation to specifically activate D1- and D2-expressing neurons in the ACC. Western blotting and immunofluorescence staining were used to examine ACC D1 and D2 expression and localization. The von Frey and real-time place preference tests were performed to measure evoked mechanical pain and nonreflexive emotional pain behaviors, respectively. We observed that dopamine receptors D1 and D2 in the ACC are primarily expressed in excitatory neurons and that the D2 receptor is differentially regulated in the early and late phases of trigeminal neuropathic pain. Optogenetic activation of D1-expressing neurons in the ACC markedly exacerbates CCI-ION-induced trigeminal neuropathic pain in both early and late phases, but optogenetic activation of D2-expressing neurons in the ACC robustly ameliorates such pain in its late phase. Our results suggest that dopamine receptors D1 and D2 in the ACC play different roles in the modulation of trigeminal neuropathic pain.
author list (cited authors)
Liu, S., Shu, H., Crawford, J., Ma, Y., Li, C., & Tao, F.