Brain Stimulation Differentially Modulates Nociception and Inflammation in Aversive and Non-aversive Behavioral Conditions.
Inflammation and pain are major clinical burdens contributing to multiple disorders and limiting the quality of life of patients. We previously reported that brain electrical stimulation can attenuate joint inflammation in experimental arthritis. Here, we report that non-aversive electrical stimulation of the locus coeruleus (LC), the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVN) or the ventrolateral column of the periaqueductal gray matter (vlPAG) decreases thermal pain sensitivity, knee inflammation and synovial neutrophilic infiltration in rats with intra-articular zymosan. We also analyzed the modulation of pain and inflammation during aversive neuronal stimulation, which produces defensive behavioral responses such as freezing immobility to avoid predator detection. Electrical stimulation with higher intensity to induce freezing immobility in rats further reduces pain but not inflammation. However, tonic immobility further reduces pain, knee inflammation and synovial neutrophilic infiltration in guinea pigs. The duration of the tonic immobility increases the control of pain and inflammation. These results reveal survival behavioral and neuromodulatory mechanisms conserved in different species to control pain and inflammation in aversive life-threatening conditions. Our results also suggest that activation of the LC, PVN, or vlPAG by non-invasive methods, such as physical exercise, meditation, psychological interventions or placebo treatments may reduce pain and joint inflammation in arthritis without inducing motor or behavioral alterations.
Bassi, GS; Kanashiro, A; Rodrigues, GJ; Cunha, FQ; Coimbra, NC; Ulloa, L
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