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 New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

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: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>