Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers pinpoint molecular basis for phantom pain

21.09.2005


Yale researchers report the first evidence that phantom pain following spinal cord injury is the result of hypersensitive neurons in the thalamic region of the brain that can be suppressed with specially designed molecular agents.



"A majority of people with spinal cord injury and limb amputations experience phantom sensations of excruciating pain at or below the level of their paralysis or loss," said Bryan Hains, associate research scientist and co-author of the study.

Typically, the perception of pain travels through three orders of neurons. The first order neurons carry signals from the periphery to the spinal cord, the second order neurons relay this information from the spinal cord to the thalamus and the third order neurons transmit the information from the thalamus to the primary sensory cortex where the information is processed, resulting in the "feeling" of pain.


The study reports that in rats with spinal cord injury, third order neurons within the thalamus spontaneously and abnormally fire signals in the absence of any incoming signals from the first order neurons. It also reports that these rogue neurons contain abnormally high levels of a particular type of sodium channel, called Nav1.3. Sodium channels serve as batteries during the conduction of nerve signals.

"Abnormal presence of Nav1.3 in these neurons has been linked to changes in their physiological temperament. They are hypersensitive and spontaneously fire signals at higher-than-normal rates, even in the absence of a painful stimulus," Hains said.

The researchers designed targeted molecular agents against Nav1.3 and injected them into the spinal fluid of the injured rats. This produced a significant reduction in the presence of Nav1.3 in second and third order neurons accompanied by a reduction in signals that they produced.

"This study is the first to show that thalamic neurons contain abnormally high levels of Nav1.3 after injury to the spinal cord and that suppressing the activity of Nav1.3 in these neurons can mitigate pain," said senior author Stephen Waxman, M.D., professor and chair of neurology and director of the Veterans Administration Rehabilitation Research and Development Center in West Haven. "Although these studies must be validated in higher-order animals before testing in humans, this represents an important step forward in the understanding and treatment of phantom pain."

Jacqueline Weaver | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.yale.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>