"On/Off Switch for Chronic Pain" Discovered

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by cats3, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. cats3

    cats3 New Member

    Columbia University Researchers Discover On/Off Switch for Chronic Pain

    by Editor


    Researchers at Columbia University in New York have identified a protein in nerve calls that acts as an “on/off switch for chronic pain.” They’ve applied for patents to develop a new class of drugs that they predict will block chronic pain by turning this switch off.

    The “switch” is the enzyme protein kinase G (PKG), which is activated upon injury or inflammation. And, the researchers state, “we are very optimistic that this discovery and our continued research will ultimately lead to a novel approach to pain relief for the millions suffering from chronic pain.”

    Scientists have known for years that for chronic pain to persist, “a master switch must be turned on” inside the first order or peripheral nerve cells. These are the neurons that feed from the body to the second order nerve cells in the spinal cord, responsible in turn for relaying pain messages to the brain.

    Pain becomes chronic when the peripheral neurons continue to send pain messages even after damaged cells heal or inflammation in the tissue subsides. The pain switch does not turn off. But until now the identity of that switch in the peripheral neurons remained a mystery.

    The discovery is important because previous approaches to alleviating chronic pain have focused on using drugs to damp the activity of the spinal cord neurons. That has proved hard to accomplish, because the drugs need to overcome the blood-brain barrier, which is a physical membrane that selectively controls passage of substances from the blood into the brain to protect and maintain a “stable brain environment.”

    Further, the Columbia researchers note, none of the existing pharmaceutical drugs on the market are adequate to deal with chronic pain. “Cox-2 inhibitors carry severe risk of side effects, opioids are highly addictive, Tylenol is ineffective for chronic pain, and other pain drugs cause significant drowsiness,” they stated. The article explaining this discovery, “Activation and retrograde transport of protein kinase G in rat nociceptive neurons after nerve injury and inflammation,” by Y.J. Sung, et al., was published in the August 2006 issue of the journal Neuroscience.

    [This Message was Edited on 08/09/2006]
  2. Scapper

    Scapper New Member

    Thank you so much for posting this information.

    I've written it down for my next dr. appt.

  3. MsE

    MsE New Member

    Thanks for posting this fascinating article. After reading it, I immediately called my sis, who has MS, and read it to her. She, of course, wondered how long it would take before a new group of drugs based on this info would appear on the market.

    I have CFIDS and my main complaints have been exhaustion and fuzzy thinking. A couple of years ago my doctor commented that he was almost positive that eventually it would be discovered that CFIDS was caused by the same kind of stuck of/off switch as the article describes regarding chronic pain.

    Again, thanks for the post.
  4. JLH

    JLH New Member

    This article mentioned:

    "...........none of the existing pharmaceutical drugs on the market are adequate to deal with chronic pain."

  5. Wolverine

    Wolverine Member

    Very nice article! Great to hear. Yes i agree that none of the pain drugs are really sufficient for this chronic pain we get / or alot of ppl get really.

    But.. how do we know if alot of us specially with MCS could take this new one either? I personally can hardly take ANY pain killer, without side effects that arent worth it.

    Figure this - ibuprofen kind of helps the pain a little.. then within another hour or so, i get even WORSE pain from taking it systemically! no help there! lol. I just cop pain and lay down. thats all i can do for now. Apart from hot / cold packs.

    This drug may be a great help for many.

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