Relief of neuropathic pain by cell-specific manipulation of nucleus accumbens dopamine D1- and D2-receptor-expressing neurons

Daisuke Sato, Michiko Narita, Yusuke Hamada, Tomohisa Mori, Kenichi Tanaka, Hideki Tamura, Akihiro Yamanaka, Ryosuke Matsui, Dai Watanabe, Yukari Suda, Emiko Senba, Moe Watanabe, Edita Navratilova, Frank Porreca, Naoko Kuzumaki, Minoru Narita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Emerging evidence suggests that the mesolimbic dopaminergic network plays a role in the modulation of pain. As chronic pain conditions are associated with hypodopaminergic tone in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), we evaluated the effects of increasing signaling at dopamine D1/D2-expressing neurons in the NAc neurons in a model of neuropathic pain induced by partial ligation of sciatic nerve. Bilateral microinjection of either the selective D1-receptor (Gs-coupled) agonist Chloro-APB or the selective D2-receptor (Gi-coupled) agonist quinpirole into the NAc partially reversed nerve injury-induced thermal allodynia. Either optical stimulation of D1-receptor-expressing neurons or optical suppression of D2-receptor-expressing neurons in both the inner and outer substructures of the NAc also transiently, but significantly, restored nerve injury-induced allodynia. Under neuropathic pain-like condition, specific facilitation of terminals of D1-receptor-expressing NAc neurons projecting to the VTA revealed a feedforward-like antinociceptive circuit. Additionally, functional suppression of cholinergic interneurons that negatively and positively control the activity of D1- and D2-receptor-expressing neurons, respectively, also transiently elicited anti-allodynic effects in nerve injured animals. These findings suggest that comprehensive activation of D1-receptor-expressing neurons and integrated suppression of D2-receptor-expressing neurons in the NAc may lead to a significant relief of neuropathic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalMolecular Brain
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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