Role of auditory-somatosensory corticothalamic circuit integration in analgesia

Dimitri L. Brunelle, Daniel A. Llano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Our sensory environment is permeated by a diverse array of auditory and somatosensory stimuli. The pairing of acoustic signals with concurrent or forthcoming tactile cues are abundant in everyday life and various survival contexts across species, thus deeming the ability to integrate sensory inputs arising from the combination of these stimuli as crucial. The corticothalamic system plays a critical role in orchestrating the construction, integration and distribution of the information extracted from these sensory modalities. In this mini-review, we provide a circuit-level description of the auditory corticothalamic pathway in conjunction with adjacent corticothalamic somatosensory projections. Although the extent of the functional interactions shared by these pathways is not entirely elucidated, activation of each of these systems appears to modulate sensory perception in the complementary domain. Several specific issues are reviewed. Under certain environmental noise conditions, the spectral information of a sound could induce modulations in nociception and even induce analgesia. We begin by discussing recent findings by Zhou et al. (2022) implicating the corticothalamic system in mediating sound-induced analgesia. Next, we describe relevant components of the corticothalamic pathway's functional organization. Additionally, we describe an emerging body of literature pointing to intrathalamic circuitry being optimal for controlling and selecting sensory signals across modalities, with the thalamic reticular nucleus being a candidate mechanism for directing cross-modal interactions. Finally, Ca2+ bursting in thalamic neurons evoked by the thalamic reticular nucleus is explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102717
JournalCell Calcium
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Auditory-somatosensory integration
  • Corticothalamic circuits
  • Sound-induced analgesia
  • Thalamic Ca bursting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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