Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neuropathic Pain: The Sea Provides A New Hope Of Relief

Date:
August 5, 2009
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
A compound initially isolated from a soft coral collected at Green Island off Taiwan, could lead scientists to develop a new set of treatments for neuropathic pain -- chronic pain that sometimes follows damage to the nervous system. Currently this form of pain is very poorly controlled by the usual analgesics and novel treatments are urgently required.

A compound initially isolated from a soft coral (Capnella imbricata) collected at Green Island off Taiwan, could lead scientists to develop a new set of treatments for neuropathic pain – chronic pain that sometimes follows damage to the nervous system. Currently this form of pain is very poorly controlled by the usual analgesics (aspirin like drugs (NSAIDS) or even opioids like morphine) and novel treatments are urgently required.

The conclusion of a paper published August 4 in the British Journal of Pharmacology is that this new compound could be a candidate.

Recent research suggests inflammation in the nervous system is a major causative factor for this condition. Inflammation activates supporting cells, such as microglia and astrocytes, that surround the nerve cells. These activated cells release compounds called cytokines that can excite nerves carrying pain sensation (nociceptive pathways) and cause the person to experience mildly uncomfortable stimuli as very painful (hyperalgesia), or stimuli that would normally induce no discomfort at all as painful (allodynia). Thus, cold drafts or lightly brushing the skin can produce intense pain, severely affecting the person's quality of life.

The treatments that give some relief to some patients are a very mixed bunch, nearly all found empirically and with many other effects. Amitriptyline, an anti depressant now used for urinary incontinence, has given relief in neuropathic pain; similarly, two drugs designed for treating epilepsy - gabapentin and pentagabalin have also proved effective for some sufferers. However, many patients do not respond to these currently available drugs.

"New, effective and safe painkillers are urgently needed for patients with neuropathic pain," says Dr Zhi-Hong Wen, who played a key role in a research study searching for novel compounds that have potential for use in pain relief. Dr Wen and colleagues work at the Department of Marine Biotechnology and Resources, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Taiwan.

Although the chemical they studied, capnellene, was originally isolated in 1974, it is only recently that scientists have started to appreciate its potential. Capnellene is interesting because its structure is very different from pain-relieving drugs currently in use. Initial experiments suggested that it may have pain-relieving properties. Working with Yen-Hsuan Jean MD, PhD and other colleagues, Dr Wen tested capnellene and a second very similar compound, in isolated microglial cells and in experimental models of the condition in rats.

They found that the compounds significantly reduced pain-related activities in isolated microglia, and that these compounds also significantly reversed hyperalgesic behaviour in the experimental rats.

"To provide better quality of life, we need new drugs that can act rapidly and have specific functions with low side effects. Moreover, we need better management for chronic pain conditions," says Dr Wen.

"Today there are few pharmacological agents that can help people suffering from neuropathic pain, but we believe that these marine-derived compounds could lead to the development of a new range of drugs of great potential," he adds.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Yen-Hsuan Jean, WuFu Chen, Chun-Sung Sung, Chan-Yih Duh, Shi-Ying Huang, Chan-Shing Lin, Ming-Hon Tai, Shun-Fen Tzeng and Zhi-Hong Wen. Capnellene, a natural marine compound derived from soft coral, attenuates chronic constriction injury-induced neuropathic pain in rats. British Journal of Pharmacology, (2009) DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2009.00323.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Neuropathic Pain: The Sea Provides A New Hope Of Relief." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804193234.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2009, August 5). Neuropathic Pain: The Sea Provides A New Hope Of Relief. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804193234.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Neuropathic Pain: The Sea Provides A New Hope Of Relief." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804193234.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. 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:
from the past week

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