About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Neurotransmitter Plays No Role in Pain Transmission

by Bidita Debnath on October 4, 2017 at 11:52 PM
Font : A-A+

 Neurotransmitter Plays No Role in Pain Transmission

Neurotransmitters are responsible for causing the itching impulses in the brain. North Carolina State University researchers show that a neurotransmitter involved in relaying itching sensations from the skin to the spinal cord and into the brain plays no role in pain transmission.

"For us, it's very important to understand the neural circuits or pathways so that we can develop therapies specifically for pain or itch, instead of targeting it as a whole system," says Santosh Mishra, assistant professor of neuroscience in NC State's College of Veterinary Medicine and the corresponding author of a paper on the topic. "This work shines a light on these different pathways for pain and itch."

Advertisement


Mishra's team focused on a neurotransmitter called brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), which is expressed in a small number of sensory nerve cells or neurons. Mishra's previous work at the National Institutes of Health established that, in mice, BNP is involved in transmitting itching sensations from the skin to the brain.

For this study, researchers looked at whether BNP played a role in transmitting acute, inflammatory or neuropathic pain in mice. Results were the same for regular mice and those that lacked the BNP gene. "That means BNP was not involved for any of these distinct types of pain," Mishra says. "We know that if we target BNP, we won't be inhibiting pain; we'll be inhibiting itch." When a nerve cell on the surface of the body reacts to a stimulus, pain or itching sensations begin.
Advertisement

"Neurons react to a stimulus by depolarizing, which is how the cells talk to each other," Mishra says. "Once it's depolarized, a neuron releases a neurotransmitter, which starts the communication from one cell to another, moving from the periphery of the body to the central nervous system."

The neural pathway takes the message to the spinal cord, which is connected to the brain. The brain interprets the signals from the nerves, creating the sensations of pain and itching.

"If we know how these sensations are transmitted, we can design specific drugs or therapies to block the neurotransmitters, block the receptors for the neurotransmitters or reduce the degree to which those neurotransmitters work," Mishra says. "I call these the gatekeepers because they are sitting in between the skin and the central nervous system."

The goal is to develop treatments that interrupt the pain or itch signals closer to the source.

"If we can block the sensation at the peripheral level, in the skin, that is a much friendlier way than to try to target the sensation once it reaches the brain," Mishra says. "We know the importance of pain management. Studying itching sensations is a relatively new field, but if we look at the number of diseases where itch is a major symptom, it includes not only atopic dermatitis but also nervous system disorders such as multiple sclerosis, as well as infection and end stage kidney disease. This work is an initial step in gaining a better understanding."

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccines May Improve Mental Health
Printed Temperature Sensors help with Continuous Temperature Monitoring
Health Benefits of Giloy
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Fibromyalgia Quiz on Depression Food and Mood Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Endorphins 

Recommended Reading
Chronic Pain is a Significant Problem in HIV Patients
New HIVMA guidelines recommend all people with HIV be screened for chronic pain using a few simple ....
Exercise Therapy alone is Enough for neck pain
Combining exercise therapy and manual treatment in treating adult neck pain offers no more benefits ...
Source of Chronic Nerve Pain in Diabetes Uncovered
Around one in four people with diabetes develop a chronic pain condition induced by nerve damage, .....
Exercise, Smoking Cessation Reduce Pain In Multiple Sclerosis
People with multiple sclerosis who engage in more physical activity, quit smoking are less likely .....
Endorphins
Endorphins are natural painkillers produced in response to stimuli, like laughter, pain, stress, sex...
Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic health condition charecterized by widespread pain and stiffness in th...
Food and Mood
People are more alert when their brains are producing the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephr...
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a rare condition that occurs when blood vessels or nerves become c...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use