Chemicals called opioids may reduce the symptoms of neuropathic pain, believe a group of German researchers following their experiments on mice.
Halina Machelska and colleagues, at Freie Universitat Berlin, describe neuropathic pain as the pain that is associated with injury to nerves, such as caused by the trauma of amputation, entrapment, and compression.
The researchers point out that it can be extremely debilitating, and treatments show limited or no effectiveness.
They also reveal that nerve injury underlying neuropathic pain is associated with an inflammatory response, and immune cells are thought to be contributors to the pain.
For their study, the researchers conducted experiments with a mouse model of neuropathic pain.
Based on their observations, the researchers came to the conclusion that selectively targeting opioid-containing immune cells at sites of nerve injury could provide natural pain relief, and offer a novel approach for neuropathic pain.