© 2015 Kang et al. Neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) are assumed to play important roles in the perception of nociceptive signals and the associated emotional responses. However, the neuronal types within the ACC that mediate these functions are poorly understood. In the present study, we used optogenetic techniques to selectively modulate excitatory pyramidal neurons and inhibitory interneurons in the ACC and to assess their ability to modulate peripheral mechanical hypersensitivity in freely moving mice. We found that selective activation of pyramidal neurons rapidly and acutely reduced nociceptive thresholds and that this effect was occluded in animals made hypersensitive using Freund's Complete Adjuvant (CFA). Conversely, inhibition of ACC pyramidal neurons rapidly and acutely reduced hypersensitivity induced by CFA treatment. A similar analgesic effect was induced by activation of parvalbumin (PV) expressing interneurons, whereas activation of somatostatin (SOM) expressing interneurons had no effect on pain thresholds. Our results provide direct evidence of the pivotal role of ACC excitatory neurons, and their regulation by PV expressing interneurons, in nociception.
Kang, S. J., Kwak, C., Lee, J., Sim, S. E., Shim, J., Choi, T., … Kaang, B. K. (2015). Bidirectional modulation of hyperalgesia via the specific control of excitatory and inhibitory neuronal activity in the ACC. Molecular Brain, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13041-015-0170-6