A midbrain circuit that mediates headache aversiveness
These data demonstrate a direct connection between the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (vlPAG) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) that contributes to headache aversiveness. Many VTA neurons receive monosynaptic input from the vlPAG, and cranial nociceptive input increases Fos expression in VTA-projecting vlPAG neurons. Activation of PAG inputs to the VTA induces avoidance behavior, while inactivation of these projections induces a place preference only in animals with headache. This work identifies a distinct pathway that mediates cranial nociceptive aversiveness. Source data for electrophysiology and Fos counting in the vlPAG are provided here. A summary of behavioral data is also provided.