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The IASP Pain Research Forum hosted a seminar with Asaf Keller, PhD, University of Maryland School of Medicine, USA.
A Q&A session moderated by Alexander Chesler, PhD, NIH, USA, followed the presentation. A recording is now available.
Here is an abstract from Dr. Keller:
This seminar will review the role of the parabrachial complex (PB) in processing interoceptive and exteroceptive inputs and in guiding aversion, avoidance and arousal. These functions are related to autonomic control, ingestive behaviors and gustation, sleep, and pain. This seminar will compare the anatomical and functional features of the spino-parabrachial and spino-thalamic pathways, and their distinct roles in acute and chronic pain.
In chronic pain, the activity of PB neurons in markedly amplified, and they display distinctive after-discharges (ADs) – responses that far outlast the stimuli that evoke them. This seminar will discuss the causal role of ADs in chronic pain, and the mechanisms responsible for their generation. New data suggests that after-discharges promote the release of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) from terminals of PB neurons in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), to drive the potentiation of these CeA neurons. The reciprocal pathway, from the CeA to PB, is also causally involved in chronic pain, in that GABAergic inputs from CeA to PB neurons are suppressed in chronic pain. This seminar will highlight that many deficiencies in our understanding of the functions of the PB. These deficiencies notwithstanding, this seminar will argue that the PB is a key nexus of aversive behaviors.