Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:


A common ground for pain and depression

Chronic pain is associated with anxio-depressive comorbidities, but the neuroanatomical substrates remain unknown. A specific serotonergic pathway from the dorsal raphe nucleus to the lateral habenula via the central amygdala is now uncovered as a key neural circuit governing comorbid depressive symptoms in chronic pain.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: A proposed novel circuit underlying depressive-like behavior in chronic pain.


  1. Doan, L., Manders, T. & Wang, J. Neural Plast. 2015, 504691 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Walker, A. K., Kavelaars, A., Heijnen, C. J. & Dantzer, R. Pharmacol. Rev. 66, 80–101 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Sindrup, S. H., Otto, M., Finnerup, N. B. & Jensen, T. S. Basic Clin. Pharmacol. Toxicol. 96, 399–409 (2005).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Kremer, M., Salvat, E., Muller, A., Yalcin, I. & Barrot, M. Neuroscience 338, 183–206 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Zhou, W., et al., Nat. Neurosci. (2019).

  6. Li, Y. et al. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 11, 31 (2017).

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  7. Ren, J. et al. Cell 175, 472–487.e20 (2018).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Sartorius, A. et al. Biol. Psychiatry 67, e9–e11 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Patetsos, E. & Horjales-Araujo, E. Pain Res. Manag. 2016, 2020915 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Yalcin, I., Barthas, F. & Barrot, M. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 47, 154–164 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Pitzer, C., La Porta, C., Treede, R. D. & Tappe-Theodor, A. Eur. J. Pain 23, 285–306 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Sellmeijer, J. et al. J. Neurosci. 38, 3102–3115 (2018).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors acknowledge funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in form of grants in Collaborative Research Center 1158 to R.K. (projects B01 and B06) and to A.T.T. (project S01).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rohini Kuner.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Tappe-Theodor, A., Kuner, R. A common ground for pain and depression. Nat Neurosci 22, 1612–1614 (2019).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing