Neuropathic pain is the result of damage to nerve fibers caused by injuries or diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. These damaged nerve fibers continue to send signals to pain centers in the brain even after the surrounding tissue has healed. Unfortunately, neuropathic pain often responds poorly to standard pain treatments and occasionally may get worse instead of better over time. For some people, it leads to serious, long-term disability and dependence on pain medications that have a variety of unwanted side effects, including addiction.
The Pitt research team, led by Joseph Glorioso, III, Ph.D., chair of the department of biochemistry and molecular genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, used a genetically engineered herpes simplex virus (HSV) to deliver the gene for part of the human glycine receptor (GlyR), a receptor found primarily on the surface of nerve cells in the spinal cord and the lower brain but not in the nerves in the limbs, to the paws of rats. A group of control rats received only the HSV vector without the inserted gene. After the delivery of the therapeutic gene or empty vector (for the control group), the researchers injected the same paws of each rat with formalin, an irritant known to simulate the symptoms of a peripheral neuropathic pain at the site of injection. Following formalin injection, the rats were then given an injection of glycine to activate the GlyR receptor.
Both control and GlyR-HSV-infected rats showed a typical pain response to formalin. However, the application of glycine eliminated the pain response in GlyR-HSV infected animals, while it had no effect on animals infected with vector only. This alleviation of the pain response in GlyR-HSV-treated mice was reversed by the subsequent addition of low concentrations of strychnine, a strong GlyR-specific inhibitor, or antagonist.
According to Dr. Glorioso, these findings suggest that HSV-directed expression of GlyR in peripheral neurons and subsequent selective activation by glycine has the potential to be used therapeutically not only for neuropathic pain management but a variety of pain syndromes.
"The inability to effectively manage neuropathic pain associated with injuries and illnesses is a growing national and international problem. Gene therapy offers a more targeted, less toxic approach for effectively managing this condition. It also is our hope that targeted transgene delivery of GlyR may have even broader implications for managing a number of chronic pain syndromes, including pain resulting from shingles, arthritis and cancer," explained Dr. Glorioso.
Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences
Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences