The levels of a protein which is responsible for persistent pain may be increased by an inflamed injury, according to researchers. The brain may continue to mimic the pain even after it has disappeared. Several million Canadians are reported to be suffering from chronic pain. The Journal of Neuroscience has published the study. The NR2B proteins in mice are increased as a result of inflammation, and these proteins serve to imprint upon the brain a painful response even when the stimulus no longer exists. The molecular mechanisms which cause the persistent pain are sought to be discovered. Physiological effects are then produced in the cell by the receptors.
Chemical irritants were injected in mice during the study, which caused an inflammation, and tracked the brain activity taking place in the brain's anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). The levels of the NR2B protein rose rapidly during the experiment. Chronic pain had already been linked to the protein by previous research. The mice which were genetically enhanced with the NR2B initially for raising their learning abilities and increasing their memory power also became aware of pain for extended periods of time.
The same molecular mechanisms are shared by pain, learning and memory. The identification of the mechanism will help in treating chronic pain. Therapeutic solutions are sought to be created to treat conditions like allodynia through the findings.