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 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: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>