General anesthetics activate a potent central pain-suppression circuit in the amygdala.

Abstract

General anesthesia (GA) can produce analgesia (loss of pain) independent of inducing loss of consciousness, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We hypothesized that GA suppresses pain in part by activating supraspinal analgesic circuits. We discovered a distinct population of GABAergic neurons activated by GA in the mouse central amygdala (CeAGA neurons). In vivo calcium imaging revealed that different GA drugs activate a shared ensemble of CeAGA neurons. CeAGA neurons also possess basal activity that mostly reflects animals' internal state rather than external stimuli. Optogenetic activation of CeAGA potently suppressed both pain-elicited reflexive and self-recuperating behaviors across sensory modalities and abolished neuropathic pain-induced mechanical (hyper-)sensitivity. Conversely, inhibition of CeAGA activity exacerbated pain, produced strong aversion and canceled the analgesic effect of low-dose ketamine. CeAGA neurons have widespread inhibitory projections to many affective pain-processing centers. Our study points to CeAGA as a potential powerful therapeutic target for alleviating chronic pain.

Department

Description

Provenance

Citation

Published Version (Please cite this version)

10.1038/s41593-020-0632-8

Publication Info

Hua, Thuy, Bin Chen, Dongye Lu, Katsuyasu Sakurai, Shengli Zhao, Bao-Xia Han, Jiwoo Kim, Luping Yin, et al. (2020). General anesthetics activate a potent central pain-suppression circuit in the amygdala. Nature neuroscience. 10.1038/s41593-020-0632-8 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/20707.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.

Scholars@Duke

Chen

Yong Chen

Associate Professor in Neurology

Dr. Yong Chen is an Associate Professor of Neurology at the Duke University School of Medicine.  He is also affiliated with Duke Anesthesiology-Center for Translational Pain Medicine (CTPM) and Duke-Pathology.

The Chen lab mainly studies sensory neurobiology of pain and itch, with a focus on TRP ion channels and neural circuits. The main objective of our lab is to identify molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying chronic pain and chronic-disease associated itch, using a combination of animal behavioral, genetic, molecular and cellular, advanced imaging, viral, and optogenetic approaches.  There are three major research areas in the lab: craniofacial pain, arthritis pain and joint function, and systemic-disease associated itch.


Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.