About this Research Topic
Pain, hedonics and motivation are closely intertwined. While pain and hedonics have an intrinsic perceptual component of outside stimuli they are directly influenced by motivation. The entanglement of these perceptual/motivational states stem from their common underlying neurochemical circuitry. Hence, the brain limbic system, which receives mesolimbic and mesocortical dopaminergic input and is rich in opioid receptors, integrates pain and hedonic signals with internal motivational states to direct animal decision making necessary for survival. The obvious corollary of this neurophysiological intersection is that disease conditions involving persistent pain or abnormal hedonics and motivation (e.g. addiction, obesity, depression) become closely related and interact within this framework. Indeed, while this relationship has been discussed for centuries recent advances in brain imaging technologies gave us crucial access to the brain limbic system (functional and structural imaging) and its major neurochemical transmitters (positron emission tomography quantifying dopamine and opioid receptor binding) allowing us to test hypotheses of the interaction between pain, hedonics and motivation.
This research topic will tackle the state of the neurophysiological knowledge in this field in health and disease with the overall aim of outlining what we already know and enlightening the way forward in future research; knowledge in this field is critical to the health of modern society given the alarming increase in the prevalence of diseases such as chronic pain, mood disorders, obesity and substance misuse. Manuscripts included will briefly explain the normal neurophysiology of pain, hedonics and motivation in both animals and humans, and will present the data available from studies studying how these three phenomena interact in normal physiology as well as in chronic conditions like chronic pain, depression and substance misuse. Topics addressed will especially focus on how neurochemical adaptations in chronic conditions can help us understand different clinical aspects of chronic conditions like negative affect, depressed mood or co-morbidities like the association between chronic pain and depression or substance misuse.
Keywords: Pain, Hedonics, Motivation, Limbic System, Opioids, Dopamine
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.