Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Inflammation linked to chronic pain: Study

09.12.2005


An inflamed injury may increase levels of a protein responsible for persistent pain, causing the brain to mimic pain long after source has disappeared, says U of T researchers. The findings could have serious implications for the millions of Canadians who suffer from chronic pain.



The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, shows how inflammation in mice increases NR2B proteins – proteins that facilitate nerve cell communication – and imprint a painful response in brain even after the stimulus is removed. "What we’re interested in uncovering are the molecular mechanisms that can turn early pain into persistent pain," says Professor Min Zhuo of physiology, EJLB-CIHR Michael Smith Chair in Neurosciences and Mental Health and lead author of the study. "We believe that the body’s inflammatory response helps to etch the initial pain into our memory."

Normally when a mouse or a person experiences a painful event, receptors in the injury site send an electrical impulse up the spine and to the brain. The signal triggers receptors called glutamate AMPA and kainate, which flare up initially but do not directly alter the physiology of the cells. When the painful event also triggers inflammation, the nerves send extra information to the normally dormant NR2B receptors – receptors that receive messages and then produce physiological effects in the cell.


In the study, researchers injected a chemical irritant into the hind paws of mice, causing inflammation. They then tracked brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) – a region of the brain associated with pain and other functions such as decision-making and emotion. In tests performed one hour, six hours and one day after injection, they found that NR2B protein levels had increased over time. Previous research had already established a link between the protein and chronic pain. In an earlier study, Zhuo demonstrated that mice initially genetically enhanced with NR2B to boost memory and learning abilities also became acutely aware of minor pain for long periods of time. "Persistent pain caused by injury, learning and memory share the same common molecular mechanisms," Zhuo says. "By identifying these mechanisms we can greatly facilitate the treatment of chronic pain."

Zhuo hopes the findings will one day be used to create therapeutic solutions to conditions such as allodynia – a condition where even a gentle touch produces pain. Currently, pain-blocking drugs also target other brain activity – not just NR2B receptors – and can also block acute pain that acts as a body’s warning system.

"It’s essential that therapies don’t block the body’s entire pain system as pain often plays a valuable role," Zhuo says. "For instance, acute and immediate pain often tells us to remove ourselves from harm such as accidentally touching a hot plate. The key is to find a way to develop drugs that target only persistent pain thereby improving the patient’s quality of living."

Karen Kelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utoronto.ca

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

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)

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>