Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New insights into the synaptic basis of chronic pain

Date:
March 13, 2012
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Pain is an important physiological function that protects our bodies from harm. Pain-sensing nerves transduce harmful stimuli into electrical signals and transmit this information to the brain via the spinal cord. A team of scientists has found a novel road-block in the pain pathway, which could be used to treat chronic pain.

A team of scientists has found a novel road-block in the pain pathway, which could be used to treat chronic pain. Their results are published March 13 in the online, open-access journal PLoS Biology.

Pain is an important physiological function that protects our bodies from harm. Pain-sensing nerves transduce harmful stimuli into electrical signals and transmit this information to the brain via the spinal cord. However, when these nerves get activated persistently, such as after injury or inflammation, the information flow into the spinal cord is remarkably amplified. This phenomenon, termed 'synaptic long-term potentiation (LTP)', is an important biological property that is evolutionarily conserved from lower organisms to humans.

To gain a better understanding of how LTP works in the context of pain signaling, the team led by Rohini Kuner (Heidelberg University, Germany) and Ceng Luo (Fourth Military Medical University, China) took advantage of biochemical, genetic, physiological, and behavioral tools available in mice. They studied how LTP works at the synaptic connection between peripheral pain sensors and spinal cord neurons. They found that presynaptic events that unfold in the spinal endings of pain-sensing nerves are required for this pain amplification.

"Our results indicate that an enzyme termed cGMP-activated Kinase 1 (PKG-I) is a key player in this important process," says Ceng Luo. By removing PKG-1 specifically from the presynaptic neurons in this pathway, their group found that not only was LTP abolished, but that pain-related memory and behavior were also altered. Can these basic biological findings be put to use? Chronic pain is a major cause of poor quality of life worldwide; recent demographic studies indicate that one in every six people in Europe suffers from chronic pain.

"Our observation that genetically silencing PKG-I, or blocking its activation, in pain-sensing nerves markedly reduced chronic inflammatory pain paves the way for potential new therapeutic approaches,'' says Rohini Kuner.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ceng Luo, Vijayan Gangadharan, Kiran Kumar Bali, Rou-Gang Xie, Nitin Agarwal, Martina Kurejova, Anke Tappe-Theodor, Irmgard Tegeder, Susanne Feil, Gary Lewin, Erika Polgar, Andrew J. Todd, Jens Schlossmann, Franz Hofmann, Da-Lu Liu, San-Jue Hu, Robert Feil, Thomas Kuner, Rohini Kuner. Presynaptically Localized Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinase 1 Is a Key Determinant of Spinal Synaptic Potentiation and Pain Hypersensitivity. PLoS Biology, 2012; 10 (3): e1001283 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001283

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "New insights into the synaptic basis of chronic pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120313185850.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2012, March 13). New insights into the synaptic basis of chronic pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120313185850.htm
Public Library of Science. "New insights into the synaptic basis of chronic pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120313185850.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. 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