Journal of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Medical Science) ›› 2023, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (10): 1304-1310.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1674-8115.2023.10.012

• Review • Previous Articles    

Research progress on the neural circuit of pain emotion mediated by amygdala

MA CUI(), YE Yujuan, YAN Xingke()   

  1. College of Acupuncture and Massage, Gansu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Received:2023-07-24 Accepted:2023-09-21 Online:2023-10-28 Published:2023-10-28
  • Contact: YAN Xingke;
  • Supported by:
    2023 Provincial Key Talent Project in Gansu Province ([2023]No.20);2021 Gansu Provincial Science and Technology Plan Project(21JR1RA266);National Natural Science Foundation of China(81460744);2023 Gansu Province Excellent Doctoral Program(23JRRA1222)


The occurrence of pain emotion is closely related to the functional and structural changes of specific central nervous circuit. When pain is accompanied by depression, anxiety, pain aversion memory and other emotional states, it activates or inhibits different neural circuits. The amygdala (AMY) of the limbic system participates in the regulation of pain, anxiety, depression, aversive memory and other emotions, and has extensive connections with brain nuclei related to pain and emotion, jointly regulating pain, anxiety, depression, aversive memory and other responses. This article summarizes the main circuits related to pain emotions mediated by AMY. It is concluded that the neural circuits related to depression include central amygdala → parafascicular nucleus of thalamus (CeA GABA → PF Glu), dorsal raphe nucleus → central amygdala (DRN 5-HT → CeA SOM), central amygdala → ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (CeA GABA → vlPAG GABA). Nerve circuits related to anxiety include ventral tegmental area → central amygdala (VTA→CeADA), locus coeruleus → basolateral amygdala (LCNE→BLA). The neural circuit related to pain aversion memory is lateral parabrachial nucleus → central amygdala (lPBN CGRP→CeA CGRP). Among them, activating the CeA GABA→PF Glu circuit can lead to depression accompanied by pain, activating the CeA GABA→vlPAG GABA circuit can alleviate pain sensitivity caused by depression, and activating the DRN 5-HT→CeA SOM circuit can alleviate pain perception and depressive emotions; activating the VTA→CeA DA loop can alleviate pain sensitivity and anxiety like behavior, inhibiting LC NE→BLA loop can alleviate anxiety caused by pain; activating the lPBN CGRP→CeA CGRP loop can generate pain aversion memory.

Key words: pain emotion, amygdala (AMY), nerve circuit, anxiety, depression, aversive memory

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