Study identifies link between chronic pain-induced dopamine inhibition and mental illness

Written by Louise White

In a study recently published in The Journal of Neuroscience, Catherine Cahill of the University of California, Irvine (CA, USA) and her colleagues discovered that chronic pain accelerated neuroinflammation, and thus the growth and activation of microglia in the ventral tegmental area of the brain. These immune cells were discovered to disrupt chloridehomeostasis in GABAergic neurons, resulting in a restriction of the release of dopamine, which plays a key role in reward-motivated behaviour, pleasure and regulating emotional responses. The high comorbidity of depression in patients with chronic pain is an area of concern among clinicians; chronic pain is second only...

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