Neuropathic pain unmasks subliminal excitation in pain processing circuits

Recent discoveries in the laboratory of Steven Prescott, at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, shed new light on the mechanism underlying the establishment of neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is spontaneous pain and hypersensitivity to innocuous touch and heat stimuli, causing pain in situations that would normally not be painful. These symptoms arise because of defects in pain processing circuits. Experiments by Kwan Lee and Stéphanie Ratté in Dr. Prescott’s lab show that dysregulation of chloride reduces inhibition across these circuits, but that this affects more strongly neurons that promote the transmission of pain signals, as these receive vast amounts of subliminal excitation, which is thus unmasked. These results were presented at the 10th Annual Canadian Neuroscience Meeting, on June 1, in Toronto, Canada. Neuropathic pain is a major…


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