18th May 2022 – (Lisbon) Portuguese scientists have identified the “exact location” of sensory neurons that cause neuropathic pain, which is chronic disabling pain caused by an injury or dysfunction of brain cells.
This discovery will enable the development of “more efficient” therapies and drugs, said the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health (i3S) of the University of Porto in a statement released on Tuesday.
“Peripheral neuropathic pain results from the generation of nerve impulses that are received and interpreted by the central nervous system as an unpleasant sensation of pain, even in the absence of any stimulus or when the stimuli should not cause pain,” the i3S said.
According to the statement, the “big step” of the research is “to show that Dorsal Root Ganglia neurons have a specific location, called the initial segment of the axon, which is the main source of Spontaneous Activity causing neuropathic pain.”
Researcher Ana Nascimento said that knowledge of the subcellular site that is at the origin of the pain impulse “will facilitate the development of effective and accurate analgesics, as well as other new therapies, for the control of chronic pain.”
The researchers, led by scientist Monica Sousa, have published their article in the scientific journal Brain.