Topography of microglial activation in sensory‐ and affect‐related brain regions in chronic pain
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1002/jnr.23883
Microglial activation in the spinal cord plays a central role in the development and maintenance of chronic pain after a peripheral nerve injury (PNI). There has not yet been a thorough assessment of microglial activation in brain regions associated with pain and reward. To this end, this study uses a mouse model of neuropathic pain in which the left sciatic nerve of male C57Bl/6J mice is loosely constricted (chronic constriction injury) to assess microglial activation in several brain regions 2 weeks after injury, a time point at which pain hypersensitivity is well established. We found significant microglial activation in brain regions associated with sensory pain transmission and affect, including the thalamus, sensory cortex, and amygdala. Activation was consistently most robust in brain regions contralateral to the side of injury. Brain regions not directly involved in either sensory or affective dimensions of pain, such as the motor cortex, did not display microglial activation. This study confirms that PNI induces microglial activation in regions involved with both sensory and affective components of pain. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.