Pei-Ching Chang1, Sara Pollema1, Maria Virginia Centeno1, Daniele Procissi2, Marwan Baliki1, Marco Martina1, A. Vania Apkarian1
1Departments of Physiology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, United States; 2Departments of Radiology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, United States
In this study, we combined rs-fMRI and receptors expression to evaluate the mechanisms of transition from an acute peripheral nerve injury to chronic neuropathic pain. We showed that enhanced functional connectivity in NAc with prefrontal regions in the neuropathic pain animals, consistent with increased PFC-NAc connectivity we observed in chronic pain patients. Furthermore, significant correlation between functional connectivity and receptors expression was observed in the neuropathic pain animals. This is the first demonstration of a link between human and animal fMRI for transition to chronic pain, and the first evidence relating changes in receptors expression and functional connectivity.