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Open Access Research article

Hippocampal CA1/subiculum-prefrontal cortical pathways induce plastic changes of nociceptive responses in cingulate and prelimbic areas

Hiroyuki Nakamura, Yoko Katayama and Yoriko Kawakami*

Author Affiliations

Department of Physiology, Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo Women's Medical University, 8-1 Kawada-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8666, Japan

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BMC Neuroscience 2010, 11:100  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-11-100

Published: 17 August 2010

Abstract

Background

Projections from hippocampal CA1-subiculum (CA1/SB) areas to the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which are involved in memory and learning processes, produce long term synaptic plasticity in PFC neurons. We examined modifying effects of these projections on nociceptive responses recorded in the prelimbic and cingulate areas of the PFC.

Results

Extracellular unit discharges evoked by mechanical noxious stimulation delivered to the rat-tail and field potentials evoked by a single stimulus pulse delivered to CA1/SB were recorded in the PFC. High frequency stimulation (HFS, 100 Hz) delivered to CA1/SB, which produced long-term potentiation (LTP) of field potentials, induced long-term enhancement (LTE) of nociceptive responses in 78% of cases, while, conversely, in 22% responses decreased (long-term depression, LTD). These neurons were scattered throughout the cingulate and prelimbic areas. The results obtained for field potentials and nociceptive discharges suggest that CA1/SB-PFC pathways can produce heterosynaptic potentiation in PFC neurons. HFS had no effects on Fos expression in the cingulated cortex. Low frequency stimulation (LFS, 1 Hz, 600 bursts) delivered to the CA1/SB induced LTD of nociceptive discharges in all cases. After recovery from LTD, HFS delivered to CA1/SB had the opposite effect, inducing LTE of nociceptive responses in the same neuron. The bidirectional type of plasticity was evident in these nociceptive responses, as in the homosynaptic plasticity reported previously. Neurons inducing LTD are found mainly in the prelimbic area, in which Fos expression was also shown to be inhibited by LFS. The electrophysiological results closely paralleled those of immunostaining. Our results indicate that CA1/SB-PFC pathways inhibit excitatory pyramidal cell activities in prelimbic areas.

Conclusion

Pressure stimulation (300 g) applied to the rat-tail induced nociceptive responses in the cingulate and prelimbic areas of the PFC, which receives direct pathways from CA1/SB. HFS and LFS delivered to the CA1/SB induced long-term plasticity of nociceptive responses. Thus, CA1/SB-PFC projections modulate the nociceptive responses of PFC neurons.