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Acta Histochem Cytochem. 2012 Aug 30;45(4):219-25. Epub 2012 Jun 30.

Activation of Anterior Cingulate Cortex Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase-1 and -2 (ERK1/2) Regulates Acetic Acid-Induced, Pain-Related Anxiety in Adult Female Mice.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Central South University, Tongzipo Road 172, Changsha, Hunan, 410013, China.


In visceral pain, anxiety and pain occur simultaneously, but the etiogenesis of this effect is not yet well-described. The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is known to be associated with the affective response to noxious stimuli. The aim of the current study is to define the role of ACC extracellular signal-regulated (ERK)-1 and-2 (ERK1/2) activity in the development of pain-related anxiety/depression and the nocifensive response in acetic acid (AA)-elicited visceral pain. The model of visceral pain was created by intraperitoneal (ip) injection of AA to female Kunming mice. We found that AA injection resulted in a dynamic, bilateral ERK1/2 activation pattern in the ACC. Inhibition of ERK1/2 activation 2 hr after AA injection by subcutaneous (sc) injection of the mitogen-activating extracellular kinase (MEK) inhibitor, SL327, had no effect on the nocifensive responses, but did attenuate anxiety-like behavior, as determined by elevated plus-maze and open-field testing results. These data suggest that AA-induced visceral pain activates expression of ACC ERK1/2, which regulates visceral pain-related anxiety, but not the nocifensive response.


anterior cingulate cortex (ACC); anxiety-like behavior; extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK); visceral pain

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