Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Master genetic switch found for chronic pain

26.01.2006


In experiments with mice, researchers have found that eliminating what appears to be a master genetic switch for the development of pain-sensing neurons knocks out the animals’ response to "neuropathic pain." Such pain is abnormal pain that outlasts the injury and is associated with nerve and/or central nervous system changes. The animals rendered deficient in the gene, called Runx1, also showed lack of response to discomfort caused by heat and cold and inflammation. The researchers said that their findings, reported in the February 2, 2006, issue of Neuron, could have implications for the design of improved pain therapies.



In their experiments, Qiufu Ma and colleagues studied the Runx1 gene because past research had shown it to code for a protein "transcription factor," which is a master regulator of multiple genes. Runx1 is one of a group of proteins that are key players involved in transmitting external sensory information, like pain and the perception of movement, to the spinal cord. In two other related papers in the same issue, Silvia Arber and colleagues and Tom Jessell and colleagues examine related aspects of the biological importance underlying the Runx transcription factors.

Runx1 was known to be expressed only in sensory nerve cells called "nociceptive" cells, involved in sensing pain. Such pain-sensing cells function by translating painful stimuli into nerve signals via specialized pores called "ion channels" in the neurons, as well as specialized receptors. The researchers’ studies of Runx1 in these cells revealed that during embryonic development, the gene is characteristically expressed in pain-receptor cells involved in neuropathic pain. When they knocked out the gene, they found that the normal development of such specialized nerve cells was impaired. The animals had lost ion channels known to be involved in reacting to painful heat or cold, as well as those involved in pain due to damaged tissue. The researchers also found that the Runx1-deficient animals showed deficient wiring of certain types of pain neurons.


In key experiments, the researchers measured the Runx1-deficient animals’ response to four types of pain--thermal, mechanical, inflammatory, and neuropathic.

The researchers produced a pain response by subjecting the animals’ hindpaw to either the cold of acetone or an uncomfortably warm plate (thermal); the uncomfortable prick of a filament (mechanical); an injection of an inflammation-inducing chemical (inflammatory); or nerve damage (neuropathic). They quantified the animals’ response by measuring how long the animals lifted or licked their affected paw in response to the treatments.

Ma and his colleagues found that, while the deficient animals showed normal response to mechanical pain, they showed significantly lowered thermal, neuropathic, and inflammatory pain response.

The researchers concluded that while the diverse specialized components of the pain-sensing machinery could be established in a piecemeal fashion, "Our data, however, provide strong evidence that Runx1 is required to specify the receptive properties of a large cohort of nociceptive sensory neurons." They also concluded that the dual functions they discovered for Runx1--controlling specification of sensory neurons and regulating how they target their wiring--"form a genetic basis for the assembly of specific neural circuits for nociceptive information processing.

"Finally, the identification of a core transcriptional control program for many of the ion channels and receptors known to transduce noxious stimuli has intriguing implications for the design of more effective pain therapies," they wrote.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cell.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex

nachricht New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>