Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study points to role of nervous system in arthritis

Date:
June 13, 2013
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Reducing levels of nerve-growth factor may be a key to developing better pain treatments.

Sympathetic nerve fibers (depicted in red) are shown to wrap around the pain-sensing neurons (green) in the joint synovium of arthritic animals.
Credit: Geraldine Longo, McGill University

Arthritis is a debilitating disorder with pain caused by inflammation and damage to joints.

Yet the condition is poorly managed in most patients, since adequate treatments are lacking -- and the therapies that do exist to ease arthritis pain often cause serious side effects, particularly when used long-term. Any hope for developing more-effective treatments for arthritis relies on understanding the processes driving this condition.

A new study in the Journal of Neuroscience by researchers at McGill University adds to a growing body of evidence that the nervous system and nerve-growth factor (NGF) play a major role in arthritis. The findings also support the idea that reducing elevated levels of NGF -- a protein that promotes the growth and survival of nerves, but also causes pain -- may be an important strategy for developing treatment of arthritis pain.

Using an approach established by arthritis researchers elsewhere, the McGill scientists examined inflammatory arthritis in the ankle joint of rats. In particular, they investigated changes in the nerves and tissues around the arthritic joint, by using specific markers to label the different types of nerve fibres and allow them to be visualized with a fluorescence microscope.

Normally, sympathetic nerve fibres regulate blood flow in blood vessels. Following the onset of arthritis in the rats, however, these fibres began to sprout into the inflamed skin over the joint and wrap around the pain-sensing nerve fibres instead. More sympathetic fibres were detected in the arthritic joint tissues, as well.

The results also showed a higher level in the inflamed skin of NGF -- mirroring the findings of human studies that have shown considerable increases in NGF levels in arthritis patients.

To investigate the role of these abnormal sympathetic fibres, the McGill researchers used an agent to block the fibres' function. They found that this reduced pain-related behaviour in the animals.

"Our findings reinforce the idea that there is a neuropathic component to arthritis, and that sympathetic nerve fibres play a role in increasing the pain," said McGill doctoral student Geraldine Longo, who co-authored the paper with Prof. Afredo Ribeiro-da-Silva and postdoctoral fellow Maria Osikowicz.

"We are currently using drugs to prevent the production of elevated levels of NGF in arthritic rats; we hope that our research will serve as a basis for the development of a new treatment for arthritis in the clinic," said Prof. Ribeiro-da-Silva.

This research was funded by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Louise and Alan Edwards Foundation, and the MITACS-Accelerate Quebec program in partnership with Pfizer Canada.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. G. Longo, M. Osikowicz, A. Ribeiro-da-Silva. Sympathetic Fiber Sprouting in Inflamed Joints and Adjacent Skin Contributes to Pain-Related Behavior in Arthritis. Journal of Neuroscience, 2013; 33 (24): 10066 DOI: 10.1523/%u200BJNEUROSCI.5784-12.2013

Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Study points to role of nervous system in arthritis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130613111944.htm>.
McGill University. (2013, June 13). Study points to role of nervous system in arthritis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130613111944.htm
McGill University. "Study points to role of nervous system in arthritis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130613111944.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
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