Navratilova E, Xie J, Meske D, Qu C, Morimura K, Okun A, Arakawa N, Ossipov M, Fields H, Porreca F (2015) Endogenous opioid activity in the anterior cingulate cortex is required for relief of pain. J Neurosci 35:7264-7271. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3862-14.2015
Summary: There are a number of neuronal circuits involved in the processing of pain, including those that control somatosensory, affective, and cognitive aspects of pain perception. Opioid signaling in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) plays a part in pain modulation – this area has also been implicated in the encoding of pain aversiveness. In order to examine the neuronal mechanisms of pain relief and the following reward, the authors of this paper administered 48 ng of Dermorphin-SAP (Cat. #IT-12) into the rostral ACC of rats. Saporin (Cat. #PR-01) was used as a control. The results illuminate the opioid pathway during pain treatment, and the dependence of nucleus accumbens dopaminergic transmission on upstream ACC opioid circuits during pain processing.