Wednesday, September 21st
10:45am-12:15pm EDT


Topical Workshop


Basic Science


717 A

The Amygdala as a Master Generator of Pain Plasticity – from Nociceptive Amygdala to Nociplastic Amygdala

For more than three decades, the amygdala has been at the forefront of neurophysiological studies to elucidate how pain affects brain networks. First, researchers found that neurons in the central amygdala (CeA) receive "nociceptive" inputs with a relay at the parabrachial nucleus (PBN) from the spinal and medullary dorsal horn and that CeA responses are sensitized in persistent pain conditions. Then, in isolated brain slice preparations, researchers revealed that different types of pain induce robust synaptic plasticity in the CeA. Subsequent biochemical and pharmacological studies demonstrated a causal function of the CeA in the modulation of pain-related behaviors. Besides, human imaging studies revealed morphofunctional alterations in the amygdala in patients with chronic pain. This workshop will update on neurobiological mechanisms and behavioral outcomes of the "nociplastic amygdala," i.e., producing and promoting pain in the presence and even absence of nociception and tissue pathology through neuroplasticity. Results from opto- and chemogenetic approaches combined with molecular techniques to study individual amygdala neuron types and associated circuits that serve different functions in different stages of pain will be presented. The audience will benefit from discussing novel concepts and approaches to brain plasticity as a pain mechanism.


10:45am EDT12:15pm EDT

Dual and Opposing Functions of the Central Amygdala in Pain Modulation

Tracks: Basic Science
Categories: Topical Workshop

Dr. Carrasquillo will demonstrate that the CeA functions as a pain rheostat system, with activation of CeA neurons expressing somatostatin attenuating pain-related responses and increases in the activity of CeA neurons expressing PKCδ promoting amplification of pain-related behaviors following injury. She will further discuss the progress in her studies at the circuit level, focusing on the excitatory afferent pathway from the parabrachial nucleus to the central amygdala and the inhibitory efferent pathway from CeA neurons expressing PKCδ to the zona incerta.

10:45am EDT12:15pm EDT

Role of Amygdala Neuro-Immune Signaling in Chronic Neuroplasticity and Pain Behaviors

Tracks: Basic Science
Categories: Topical Workshop

Evidence will be discussed to suggest a change of mechanisms underlying amygdala neuroplasticity and behaviors in the transition from acute to chronic pain. The focus will be on CRF neurons and neuro-immune signaling and their link to pain behaviors.

10:45am EDT12:15pm EDT

The Central Amygdala in Widespread Sensitization in Rodent Models of Nociplastic Pain

Tracks: Basic Science
Categories: Topical Workshop
Presented By: Prof. Fusao Kato

The research group led by Kato has demonstrated that the plastic changes in the parabrachial-central amygdala system in the latent inflammatory pain in rats and mice underlie ectopic/widespread sensitization in these models (Miyazawa et al., 2018; Sugimoto et al., 2021). In addition, they have developed two types of models with robust and long-lasting bilateral hindpaw sensitization in which there is neither nociception nor nerve injury at the site of sensitization. Dr. Kato will discuss the possibility of using these models for preclinical evaluation of the drugs (Yajima et al., 2022) that would potentially mitigate chronic pain with nociplastic mechanisms.


Dr. Yarimar Carrasquillo

National Institutes of Health

Prof. Fusao Kato

The Jikei University School of Medicine

Prof. Volker Neugebauer

Professor and Chair
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center