Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Pinpoint Molecular Basis For Phantom Pain Following Spinal Cord Injury

Date:
September 21, 2005
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Phantom pain following spinal cord injury is the result of hypersensitive neurons in the thalamic region of the brain that can be suppressed with specially designed molecular agents.

New Haven, Conn.-Yale researchers report the first evidence thatphantom pain following spinal cord injury is the result ofhypersensitive neurons in the thalamic region of the brain that can besuppressed with specially designed molecular agents.

Related Articles


"A majority of people with spinal cord injury and limb amputationsexperience phantom sensations of excruciating pain at or below thelevel of their paralysis or loss," said Bryan Hains, associate researchscientist and co-author of the study.

Typically, the perception of pain travels through three ordersof neurons. The first order neurons carry signals from the periphery tothe spinal cord, the second order neurons relay this information fromthe spinal cord to the thalamus and the third order neurons transmitthe information from the thalamus to the primary sensory cortex wherethe information is processed, resulting in the "feeling" of pain.

The study reports that in rats with spinal cord injury, thirdorder neurons within the thalamus spontaneously and abnormally firesignals in the absence of any incoming signals from the first orderneurons. It also reports that these rogue neurons contain abnormallyhigh levels of a particular type of sodium channel, called Nav1.3.Sodium channels serve as batteries during the conduction of nervesignals.

"Abnormal presence of Nav1.3 in these neurons has been linkedto changes in their physiological temperament. They are hypersensitiveand spontaneously fire signals at higher-than-normal rates, even in theabsence of a painful stimulus," Hains said.

The researchers designed targeted molecular agents againstNav1.3 and injected them into the spinal fluid of the injured rats.This produced a significant reduction in the presence of Nav1.3 insecond and third order neurons accompanied by a reduction in signalsthat they produced.

"This study is the first to show that thalamic neurons containabnormally high levels of Nav1.3 after injury to the spinal cord andthat suppressing the activity of Nav1.3 in these neurons can mitigatepain," said senior author Stephen Waxman, M.D., professor and chair ofneurology and director of the Veterans Administration RehabilitationResearch and Development Center in West Haven. "Although these studiesmust be validated in higher-order animals before testing in humans,this represents an important step forward in the understanding andtreatment of phantom pain."

###

The study was supported by the Medical Research Service andRehabilitation Research and Development Service, Department of VeteransAffairs, the United Spinal Association, the Paralyzed Veterans ofAmerica and Pfizer Inc.

Brain (August 18, 2005, online)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Researchers Pinpoint Molecular Basis For Phantom Pain Following Spinal Cord Injury." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050921081041.htm>.
Yale University. (2005, September 21). Researchers Pinpoint Molecular Basis For Phantom Pain Following Spinal Cord Injury. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050921081041.htm
Yale University. "Researchers Pinpoint Molecular Basis For Phantom Pain Following Spinal Cord Injury." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050921081041.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins