Biology Colloquium-October 20,2021

For Biology Colloquium on Wednesday at 11:10 AM, Dr. Philippe Séguéla will be the presenter. Their talk is titled  Functional interrogation of genetically-defined sensory neurons in pain and itch pathways. Dr. Philippe Séguéla comes to us from McGill University. Please review his talk abstract pasted below:

Chronic pain is a serious condition affecting up to 20% of the world population. Opioids, our current first line-of-defense, are not viable strategies as they lose efficacy due to tolerance, leading to abuse and lethal side effects. Understanding the brain circuitry involved in pain perception is vital to the development of novel therapeutic approaches. Of all brain areas processing pain-related information, the prefrontal area defined as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is the most constitutively active region in chronic pain states, in both rodents and humans. Our group and others have reported that pyramidal neurons in the ACC become hyperexcitable during chronic pain and their optogenetic inhibition induces analgesia. Based on our recent results using patch clamp electrophysiology and pharmacology, I will show that dopamine is an inhibitory neuromodulator of pyramidal neurons in the ACC. I will present evidence that a dysregulation of HCN channel-based dopaminergic inhibition plays a major role in inducing cortical hyperexcitability and somatosensory allodynia in chronic neuropathic conditions. As a deficit in inhibitory dopaminergic inputs in the cortex could explain the high prevalence of chronic pain observed in Parkinsonian patients, our data suggest for the first time a connection between Parkinson’s disease and chronic pain states through shared supraspinal mechanisms. Beyond the field of pain research, these original findings are relevant to the pathophysiology of hypodopaminergic disorders and their impact on somatosensory pathways.


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