Optogenetic stimulation of the motor cortex and neuropathic pain


  • Optical motor cortex (OMC) stimulation can alleviate pain behavior in a rat model of trigeminal neuropathic (TN) pain; in addition, transmission of trigeminal pain signals is modulated via knock-down of calcitonin gene-related peptide (α-CGRP) and OMC stimulation.

Why this matters

  • Motor cortical stimulation is effective in reducing trigeminal neuropathic pain; however, the effects of OMC stimulation remain unclear. Separate studies report a key role for α-CGRP in the trigeminal nociceptive system, but findings are similarly mixed.

  • Motor cortical stimulation is associated with several risks which can outweigh its effectiveness for some patients; as such, OMC shows potential as a lower risk preferential treatment for patients with TN pain, with fewer side effects. Therapies involving α-CGRP could also be beneficial, although further testing is necessary.