Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Sayamwong (Jom) Hammack


Pain, Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP), Central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), Mechanical sensitivity, Thermal sensitivity


Pain is a universal experience, yet the treatment of pain continues to challenge the medical community. The first step toward treating pain is understanding the underlying neurological mechanisms that lead to the perception of pain. Over the past 20 years, the amygdala, specifically its central nucleus (CeA), has emerged as an important part of the pain matrix. The CeA is part spinoparabrachioamygdaloid (SPA) pathway, which has been implicated as a pathway for the emotional aspects of pain. The CeA represents a convergence of pathways for pain and emotion. Our lab previously identified pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) immunoreactivity in fibers in the lateral capsular division of the CeA. PACAP has also been shown to alter pain responses at various levels in the nervous system. This study is the first to examine the effects of CeA PACAP infusion on both thermal and mechanical sensitization. CeA PACAP signaling decreased threshold responses in thermal, but not mechanical sensitivity tests. These results provide evidence that CeA PACAP signaling alters nociception and that modality of the nociceptive input leads to distinct results.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.