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 July 24, 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 July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
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