Stress and nociceptive cortical integration underlie chronic pain and affective disorder comorbidity.

Affective disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression are highly comorbid with chronic pain. Such comorbidity adds complexity to diagnosis and treatment and reduces patient quality of life. Predisposition to mental disorder or stress may increase the probability that pain becomes chronic, and likewise, a painful injury or disorder may facilitate the development of an underlying or otherwise dormant mental disorder. Affective disorders and chronic pain can each independently lead to dramatic and persistent alterations in the brain in many ways from large scale anatomical changes in grey matter to molecular changes of neurotransmitters and genes expression.

Grant Recipients

Dr. Steve Davidson

Dr. Davidson has conducted research in circuit neurobiology for over 15 years and has published using a variety of techniques including single unit and patch clamp electrophysiology, plus optogenetic and chemogenetic approaches. His lab has unique expertise in assessing the genetic, anatomical, and functional characteristics of neural circuits and projection neurons. The Davidson lab uses these tools to pursue investigations to link pain and stress circuits as a potential generator of comorbidity and potential therapeutic target. Dr. Davidson serves as Associate Program Director for the Neuroscience Graduate program.