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Institut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et Intégratives
Institute of Cellular and Integrative Neurosciences
Nociception & Pain
Team "Neuroanatomy, pain & psychopathologies"

Affective consequences of chronic pain

Project leader

Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety are frequently observed in patients suffering from chronic pain, which is dramatically add to the patients' pain burden. Epidemiological studies reported around 50% mean prevalence rate for major depressive disorder in patients with chronic pain. Reciprocally, pain is a freaquent complaint in depressive patients. While this co-morbidity is clinically well established, the underlying mechanisms remained unclear. Our researches aim at understanding the reciprocal relation between chronic pain and mood disorders by seeking common neuroanatomical, physiological and molecular substrates. This work may also help revealing potential targets for the management of this co-morbidity.


The team recently modeled and characterized the affective consequences of neuropathic pain in a preclinical murine model, and demonstrated that these affective consequences evolve and worsen over time. We are currently working on the functional and structural alterations of the central nervous system circuits possibly  involved in regulating the emotional consequences of neuropathic pain. Based on the human neuroimaging studies, we are focusing our research on limbic structures such as the anterior cingulate cortex, the amygdala and the hippocampus by using neuronatomical and behavioural approaches as well as genomic and proteomic analyses.



  • Mice models of pain, anxiety and depression.
  • Behavioral tests : nociception (von Frey, hot plate, Plantar, cold plate).
  • Behavioral tests : anxiodepressive disorders (elevated plus-maze, open field, dark-light test, marble burying, novelty-suppressed feeding, splash test, TST, FST).
  • Behavioral tests : reward/aversion/pain (place conditioning).
  • Behavioral pharmacology.
  • Histology and immunohistochemistry.


  • Philippe Hamman (Esplanade proteomic core, Strasbourg)
  • Catherine Belzung (University of Tours, France)
  • Lutz Hein, Ralf Gilsbach (University of Freiburg, Germany)
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