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.
Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University
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...
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...
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...
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...
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)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology