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Review
. 2016 Jun;157(6):1194-8.
doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000494.

Mesolimbic Dopamine Signaling in Acute and Chronic Pain: Implications for Motivation, Analgesia, and Addiction

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Free PMC article
Review

Mesolimbic Dopamine Signaling in Acute and Chronic Pain: Implications for Motivation, Analgesia, and Addiction

Anna M W Taylor et al. Pain. .
Free PMC article

Conflict of interest statement

Sponsorships or competing interests that may be relevant to content are disclosed at the end of this article.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
The role of mesolimbic dopamine neuron subpopulations in motivated behavior. Dopamine neurons in the dorsolateral substantia nigra (SN) project to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) core and encode motivational salience (stimulus awareness). Dopamine neurons in the ventromedial SN and lateral ventral tegmental area (VTA) project to the NAc shell and encode motivational valence (whether the stimulus is positive or negative in value).
Figure 2
Figure 2
The mesolimbic dopamine system is formed of a heterogeneous population of neurons that respond to both appetitive and aversive stimuli and mediate motivated behavior. Release of dopamine after an acute painful stimulus acts as a salience cue, mediating the motivation to avoid or endure pain depending on the situational context. Conversely, relief of pain is normally interpreted as a positive salient stimulus and stimulates the release of dopamine in healthy individuals. Chronic pain, however, results in a hypodopaminergic state that impairs motivated behavior. Decreased reward responsivity may underlie a key system mediating the anhedonia and depression common with chronic pain.

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