The Central Amygdala in Chronic Pain – Circuit, Neuropeptides, and Nociplasticity

Monday, September 19th
1:00pm4:30pm EDT

About the Session


  • Fusao Kato, PhD (Japan)
  • Yarimar Carrasquillo, PhD (USA)
  • Volker Neugebauer, MD, PhD (USA)


This refresher course will provide you with the most updated information to understand the CeA and what makes the CeA the primary player in various forms of pain.

Recently accumulated lines of evidence in these years indicate that a small limbic structure called the central amygdala (CeA) plays an essential role in establishing chronic pain and related symptoms such as negative emotion, autonomic maladaptation, and widespread sensitization.

The CeA has also been known as a site for fear/threat learning, taste aversion, responses to predator odor, and stress responses, thus making it a kernel structure for survival and defense. In this sense, it is reasonable that it plays a central role in the “pain,” an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, of various forms. It is also well described as the site of adaptive neuroplasticity involving diverse neuropeptides and receptors, including CRF, oxytocin, CGRP, and opioids. In addition, the CeA is strategically well located to receive and send nociception-associated information through rich mutual connections. Evidence in human studies also suggests the involvement of the CeA in patients with chronic pain, suggesting understanding its function would have translational value to tackle the unexplored mechanisms underlying chronic nociplastic pain.