Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Different mechanisms of pain revealed

Date:
May 14, 2012
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
Researchers have found a previously unknown mechanism through which pain is signaled by nerve cells -- a discovery that could explain the current failings in the drug development process for painkillers and which may offer opportunities for a new approach.

Researchers at the University of Leeds have found a previously unknown mechanism through which pain is signalled by nerve cells.

A discovery that could explain the current failings in the drug development process for painkillers and which may offer opportunities for a new approach.

The team, led by Dr Nikita Gamper of the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences, is investigating the difference between persistent pain, such as toothache, and pain that results from the increased sensitivity of nerves in injured or diseased tissue (for example when we touch inflamed skin), known as hyperalgesia.

In research published online this week, (w/c 14 May) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Dr Gamper's team has discovered that these two types of pain are generated by the same nerves, but result from different underlying mechanisms.

The project, funded jointly by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council, investigated the painful effects of two substances that cause local inflammation: bradykinin and substance P. Both substances bind to specific receptors on nerve cells, generating signals to the central nervous system. Because the receptors are from the same family, it has always been presumed they stimulate the same signalling pathway.

However, the team found that each receptor produces different signals; the one associated with bradykinin causing both hyperalgesia and persistent pain, whereas the one associated with substance P only caused hyperalgesia.

"Dr Gamper says: "Pain originates from a series of electrical signals sent by nerve cells in to the central nervous system and ultimately the brain. Despite much progress, we still don't know enough about the mechanisms by which these pain signals are generated. However, this research has shown that whilst the sensation of pain can be similar between various conditions, the underlying molecular mechanisms may in fact be very different."

Existing painkillers are 'non-specific', designed to generally dull the reception of these signals in the central nervous system, and some stronger pain killers can provoke unwanted side effects such as disorientation, drowsiness or nausea. So while the search for new better drugs is pressing, the lack of progress in developing truly targeted analgesics has led to several pharmaceutical companies dropping this area of research altogether.

"What's exciting about these findings is that substance P may actually suppress the activation of the pain sensing nerves themselves," says Dr Gamper.

"It's increasingly evident that current strategies for testing and validating new painkillers often do not take into account a possible difference in how pain signals are generated. For instance, drugs for persistent pain are often tested solely for their ability to reduce hyperalgesia, and as a result, some of the drugs that are effective in the lab, fail in subsequent clinical trials. These findings challenge current approaches in drug development research and may offer new strategies," he says.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. John E. Linley, Lezanne Ooi, Louisa Pettinger, Hannah Kirton, John P. Boyle, Chris Peers, and Nikita Gamper. Reactive oxygen species are second messengers of neurokinin signaling in peripheral sensory neurons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 14, 2012 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1201544109

Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "Different mechanisms of pain revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514153109.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2012, May 14). Different mechanisms of pain revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514153109.htm
University of Leeds. "Different mechanisms of pain revealed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120514153109.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. 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