Obstructing key protein could treat chronic pain : New researchers in Mice recommend that choosing a specific protein in spinal cord could form the basis of a new pain relief medication that could relief chronic pain for thousands of people.
About 1/5 of the adults in the US are living with chronic pain. This pain lasts for longer than three months. However, one particular type of chronic pain is of particular concern- neuropathic pain.
Neuropathic pain turns from nerve injury and around 10% of the US population may be living with it. Due to the rising life expectancy and contributory lifestyle factors, estimates suggests that this figure will enhance.
Neuropathic pain has many causes which include physical injury to the nerves that send information between the spinal cord and brain, viral infections, conditions such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis, medication side effects and excessive alcohol consumption.
The cause of pain doesn’t change the fact that doctors find this type of pain challenging to treat. It can also significantly affect a person’s life, with different symptoms such as burning, tingling and stabbing.
Traditional pain relief medications are often ineffective against neuropathic pain. Earlier studies suggest that mice is not able to produce sortilin which is a protein which occurs on the surface of nerve cells, appeared to feel no pain after suffering nerve damage.
The researchers saying that the same effect in regular mice with nerve damage, but not only when they blocked sortilin’s path. The team wanted to find out the reason. They already knew that severe pain takes place as a result of malfunctioning nerve cells. So, they used molecular techniques including tissue and protein analyses to find the link between sortilin and pain.
And it is here, at the molecular level, that we have now added an important piece to a larger puzzle. The piece is the role of sortilin in the pain development process.
A medication which could stop sortilin in its track could go some way to diminishing and stopping neuropathic pain altogether in the human body.
The researches notice the two limitations in research. One is that any further research into obstructing sortilin will need the help of the pharmaceutical industry. Second, the research took place in mice and the researchers can’t yet say whether they can apply the researches to human body or not.
Assistant professor is confident that obstructing sortilin could have the same effect on humans.
Detecting a treatment depends upon a way to halt sortilin in the spinal cord locally. It will need a lot more research. Currently, preventing neuropathic pain remains a challenge.