Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How the brain suppresses pain during times of stress

Date:
March 6, 2013
Source:
National University of Ireland, Galway
Summary:
How does the brain suppress pain? For the first time, it has been shown that suppression of pain during times of fear involves complex interplay between marijuana-like chemicals and other neurotransmitters in a brain region called the amygdala.

New findings about how the brain functions to suppress pain have been published in the leading journal in the field Pain, by National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) researchers. For the first time, it has been shown that suppression of pain during times of fear involves complex interplay between marijuana-like chemicals and other neurotransmitters in a brain region called the amygdala.

The work was carried out by Dr David Finn and his research team in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Centre for Pain Research and Galway Neuroscience Centre at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, NUI Galway. The research builds on previous breakthrough findings from Dr Finn's research group on the role of marijuana-like chemicals in the brain's hippocampus in pain suppression during fear.

Pain is both a sensory and an emotional experience and is subject to modulation by a number of factors including fear and stress. During exposure to a high-stress environment or stimulus, pain transmission and perception can be potently suppressed. This important survival response can help us cope with or escape from potentially life-threatening situations. One brain region that is integral to the processing and expression of both emotional responses and pain is the amygdala.

Working with Dr Finn, first author Dr Kieran Rea was able to confirm the amygdala as a key brain region in the suppression of pain behaviour by fear (so-called fear-induced analgesia). Fear-induced analgesia was associated with increases in levels of marijuana-like substances known as endocannabinoids in the amygdala.

Furthermore, fear-induced analgesia was prevented by injecting a drug that blocked the receptor at which these endocannabinoids act into the amygdala. Further experimentation revealed that these effects involved an interaction between endocannabinoids and the classical neurotransmitters GABA (Gamma-amino butyric acid) and glutamate. An increased understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in fear-induced analgesia is important from a fundamental physiological perspective and may also advance the search for new therapeutic approaches to the treatment of pain.

Dr David Finn, Leader of the Galway Neuroscience Centre, Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway and study leader says: "The body can suppress pain when under extreme stress, in part through the action of marijuana-like substances produced in the brain. This research provides information on the complex interactions between multiple neurotransmitter systems including endocannabinoids, GABA and glutamate in times of stress and pain. This research which was funded by a grant from Science Foundation Ireland, advances our fundamental understanding of the neurobiology of pain and may facilitate the identification of new therapeutic targets for the treatment of pain and anxiety disorders."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Kieran Rea, Weredeselam M. Olango, Brendan Harhen, Daniel M. Kerr, Rachel Galligan, Sean Fitzgerald, Maeve Moore, Michelle Roche, David P. Finn. Evidence for a role of GABAergic and glutamatergic signalling in the basolateral amygdala in endocannabinoid-mediated fear-conditioned analgesia in rats. PAIN, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2012.12.021

Cite This Page:

National University of Ireland, Galway. "How the brain suppresses pain during times of stress." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130306134014.htm>.
National University of Ireland, Galway. (2013, March 6). How the brain suppresses pain during times of stress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130306134014.htm
National University of Ireland, Galway. "How the brain suppresses pain during times of stress." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130306134014.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
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