Synaptic potentiation of anterior cingulate cortex contributes to chronic pain of Parkinson’s disease

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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a multi-system neurodegenerative disorder. Patients with PD often suffer chronic pain. In the present study, we investigated motor, sensory and emotional changes in three different PD mice models. We found that 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-treatment caused significant changes in all measurements. Mechanical hypersensitivity of PD model induced by MPTP peaked at 3 days and persisted for at least 14 days. Using Fos transgenic mice, we found that neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) were activated after MPTP treatment. Inhibiting ACC by bilateral microinjection of muscimol significantly reduced mechanical hypersensitivity and anxiety-like responses. By contrast, MPTP induced motor deficit was not affected, indicating ACC activity is mostly responsible for sensory and emotional changes. We also investigated excitatory synaptic transmission and plasticity using brain slices of MPTP treated animals. While L-LTP was blocked or significantly reduced. E-LTP was not significantly affected in slices of MPTP treated animals. LTD induced by repetitive stimulation was not affected. Furthermore, we found that paired-pulse facilitation and spontaneous release of glutamate were also altered in MPTP treated animals, suggesting presynaptic enhancement of excitatory transmission in PD. Our results suggest that ACC synaptic transmission is enhanced in the animal model of PD, and cortical excitation may play important roles in PD related pain and anxiety.




Zhou, Z., Ye, P., Li, X. H., Zhang, Y., Li, M., Chen, Q. Y., … Zhuo, M. (2021). Synaptic potentiation of anterior cingulate cortex contributes to chronic pain of Parkinson’s disease. Molecular Brain, 14(1).

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