The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is known for its role in perception of nociceptive signals and the associated emotional responses. Recent optogenetic studies, involving modulation of neuronal activity in the ACC, show that the ACC can modulate mechanical hyperalgesia. In the present study, we used optogenetic techniques to selectively modulate excitatory pyramidal neurons and inhibitory interneurons in the ACC in a model of chronic inflammatory pain to assess their motivational effect in the conditioned place preference (CPP) test. Selective inhibition of pyramidal neurons induced preference during the CPP test, while activation of parvalbumin (PV)-specific neurons did not. Moreover, chemogenetic inhibition of the excitatory pyramidal neurons alleviated mechanical hyperalgesia, consistent with our previous result. Our results provide evidence for the analgesic effect of inhibition of ACC excitatory pyramidal neurons and a prospective treatment for chronic pain.
Keywords: Anterior cingulate cortex; Conditioned place preference; Optogenetics; Pain.