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Role of emotional components of pain in the modulation of descending controls

Thursday 26 March 2015, by Fossat Pascal

Pascal Fossat is Lecturer
Olivier Roca is post doc fellow.

Anxiety is a major adaptive response to future uncertainties that arose early in the metazoans group with serotonin (5HT) as an essential mediator. Pain and anxiety are closely related so that pain and anxiety disorders are often intermingled. For instance, anxiety and depression are more prevalent in chronic pain patients and pain perception is altered in patients with psychiatric disorders. The level of stress and anxiety affects pain sensation in animal models and human. Indeed, although stress usually evokes analgesia in normal conditions, a phenomenon known as stress-induced analgesia (SIA), SIA is turned into hyperalgesia (SIH) if subjects have experienced chronic pain. The extended amygdala (EA), consisting of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) and the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) is at the core of anxiety disorders and participates in the emotional component of pain (7). Despite the central function of the EA in stress/anxiety and pain, its role in modulating the descending controls of dorsal horn of the spinal cord (DH) and thus controlling the dorsal horn neurones (DHNs) activity and the pain transmission has not been thoroughly investigated so far.


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