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Current Neuropharmacology



ISSN (Print): 1570-159X
ISSN (Online): 1875-6190

Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor Dependent Cortical Plasticity in Chronic Pain

Author(s): Kohei Koga, Shermaine Li and Min Zhuo

Volume 14 , Issue 5 , 2016

Page: [427 - 434] Pages: 8

DOI: 10.2174/1570159X13666150425002304

Price: $65


Many cortical areas play crucial roles in higher order brain functions such as pain and emotion-processing, decision-making, and cognition. Among them, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and insular cortex (IC) are two key areas. Glutamate mediates major excitatory transmission during long-term plasticity in both physiological and pathological conditions. Specifically related to nociceptive or pain behaviors, metabotropic glutamate subtype receptors (mGluRs) have been involved in different types of synaptic modulation and plasticity from periphery to the spinal cord. However, less is known about their functional roles in plasticity related to pain and its related behaviors within cortical regions. In this review, we first summarized previous studies of synaptic plasticity in both the ACC and IC, and discussed how mGluRs may be involved in both cortical long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD)-especially in LTD. The activation of mGluRs contributes to the induction of LTD in both ACC and IC areas. The loss of LTD caused by peripheral amputation or nerve injury can be rescued by priming ACC or IC with activations of mGluR1 receptors. We also discussed the potential functional roles of mGluRs for pain-related behaviors. We propose that targeting mGluRs in the cortical areas including the ACC and IC may provide a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of chronic pain, phantom pain or anxiety.

Keywords: Anterior cingulate cortex, insular cortex, long term depression, long term potentiation, metabotropic glutamate receptor, pain.

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