The French National Centre for Scientific Research

Chronic pain and mood disorder comorbidity

Project leader : Ipek YALCIN

Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression are frequently observed in patients suffering from chronic pain, which dramatically adds to the patients’ pain burden. Our research aims at understanding the mechanisms underlying the relation between chronic pain and mood disorders, by seeking common neuroanatomical, physiological and molecular substrates. We recently modeled and characterized the affective consequences of neuropathic pain in a preclinical murine model, and demonstrated that these affective consequences evolve over time. We also identified the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) as a critical brain region for this comorbidity.

We are currently studying:
– cell type specific electrophysiological and molecular alterations within the ACC;
– brain networks in pain-induced depression, with insights into the structural and functional mechanisms in the ACC and its circuitry;
– genomic alterations within the ACC and its circuitry in chronic pain induced depression.


Ipek Yalcin
(Research director)
Victor Mathis
(Postdoctoral fellow)
Vandan Shree Srinivasan
(Ph.D. student)
Susana Lima
(Ph.D. student)
Yechao Han
(PhD student)
Ariadni Bella
(PhD student)
Enora Langlois
(PhD student)
Khaled Abdallah
(PhD student)


  • David Finn, Michelle Roche (University of Galway, Ireland)
  • Rohini Kuner (University of Heidelberg, Germany)
  • Tomi Rantamaki (University of Helsinki, Finland)
  • Min Zhuo (University of Toronto, Canada)
  • Catherine Belzung (University of Tours, France)
  • Laura Harsan (University of Strasbourg, France)
  • Gustavo Turecki (McGill Group for Suicide Studies, Douglas Hospital Research Centre, McGill University, Montréal, Canada)
  • Raoul Belzeaux, El Cherif Ibrahim (Institut de Neuroscience de la Timone, Marseille, France)
  • Yves de Koninck (CERVO Institute, Laval University, Québec, Canada)

Methodological approaches

  • Mice models of pain, anxiety and depression
  • Behavioral tests: nociception (von Frey filaments, 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
  • Optogenetic
  • Fiber photometry
  • In vivo electrophysiological recordings
  • Histology, immunohistochemistry, western blot, qPCR
  • Genomic analyses


  • Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR)
  • Fondation de France
  • Fondation pour la Recherche médicale (FRM équipe)
  • Services for private companies

Selected publications

Sellmeijer J, Mathis V, Hugel S, Li XL, Song Q, Chen QY, Barthas F, Lutz PE, Karatas M, Luthi A, Veinante P, Aertsen A, Barrot M, Zhuo M, Yalcin I (2018) Hyperactivity of anterior cingulate cortex areas 24a/24b drives chronic pain-induced anxiodepressive-like consequences. Journal of Neuroscience 38:3102-3115

Barthas F, Humo M, Gilsbach R, Waltisperger E, Karatas M, Leman S, Hein L, Belzung C, Boutillier AL, Barrot M, Yalcin I (2017) Cingulate Overexpression of Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Phosphatase-1 as a Key Factor for Depression. Biological Psychiatry 82:370-379

Barthas F, Sellmeijer J, Hugel S, Waltisperger E, Barrot M, Yalcin I (2015) The anterior cingulate cortex is a critical hub for pain-induced depression. Biological Psychiatry 77:236-245

Yalcin I, Barthas F, Barrot M (2014) Emotional consequences of neuropathic pain: insight from preclinical studies. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 47:154-164

Yalcin I, Bohren Y, Waltisperger E, Sage-Ciocca D, Yin JC, Freund-Mercier MJ, Barrot M (2011) A time dependent history of mood disorders in a murine model of neuropathic pain. Biological Psychiatry 70:946-953

Yalcin I*, Choucair-Jaafar N*, Benbouzid M, Tessier LH, Muller A, Hein L, Freund-Mercier MJ, Barrot M (2009) β2-adrenoreceptors are critical for antidepressant treatment of neuropathic pain. Annals of Neurology 65:218-225


The French National Centre for Scientific Research