The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Role of extracellular signal-regulated kinase in synaptic transmission and plasticity of a nociceptive input on capsular central amygdaloid neurons in normal and acid-induced muscle pain mice.

PMID 21307262


Application of phorbol 12,13-diacetate (PDA) caused marked enhancement of synaptic transmission of nociceptive parabrachio-amygdaloid (PBA) input onto neurons of the capsular central amygdaloid (CeAC) nucleus. The potentiation of PBA-CeAC EPSCs by PDA involved a presynaptic protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent component and a postsynaptic PKC-extracellular-regulated kinase (ERK)-dependent component. NMDA glutamatergic receptor (NMDAR)-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) of PBA-CeAC EPSCs, which was also dependent on the PKC-ERK signaling pathway, was induced by tetanus stimulation at 100 Hz. In slices from mice subjected to acid-induced muscle pain (AIMP), phosphorylated ERK levels in the CeAC increased, and PBA-CeAC synaptic transmission was postsynaptically enhanced. The enhanced PBA-CeAC synaptic transmission in AIMP mice shared common mechanisms with the postsynaptic potentiation effect of PDA and induction of NMDAR-dependent LTP by high-frequency stimulation in normal slices, both of which required ERK activation. Since the CeAC plays an important role in the emotionality of pain, enhanced synaptic function of nociceptive (PBA) inputs onto CeAC neurons might partially account for the supraspinal mechanisms underlying central sensitization.