Glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons in the vLGN mediate the nociceptive effects of green and red light on neuropathic pain

Xue Qing Wu, Bei Tan, Yu Du, Lin Yang, Ting Ting Hu, Yi La Ding, Xiao Yun Qiu, Aubin Moutal, Rajesh Khanna, Jie Yu, Zhong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phototherapy is an emerging non-pharmacological treatment for depression, circadian rhythm disruptions, and neurodegeneration, as well as pain conditions including migraine and fibromyalgia. However, the mechanism of phototherapy-induced antinociception is not well understood. Here, using fiber photometry recordings of population-level neural activity combined with chemogenetics, we found that phototherapy elicits antinociception via regulation of the ventral lateral geniculate body (vLGN) located in the visual system. Specifically, both green and red lights caused an increase of c-fos in vLGN, with red light increased more. In vLGN, green light causes a large increase in glutamatergic neurons, whereas red light causes a large increase in GABAergic neurons. Green light preconditioning increases the sensitivity of glutamatergic neurons to noxious stimuli in vLGN of PSL mice. Green light produces antinociception by activating glutamatergic neurons in vLGN, and red light promotes nociception by activating GABAergic neurons in vLGN. Together, these results demonstrate that different colors of light exert different pain modulation effects by regulating glutamatergic and GABAergic subpopulations in the vLGN. This may provide potential new therapeutic strategies and new therapeutic targets for the precise clinical treatment of neuropathic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106164
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Green light
  • Neural circuit
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Ventral lateral geniculate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons in the vLGN mediate the nociceptive effects of green and red light on neuropathic pain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this