New study to enhance chronic pain treatments

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Fukuoka [Japan], November 26: Researchers at Kyushu University’s Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences have discovered a unique population of spinal cord astrocytes with a role in producing pain hypersensitivity to strengthen the effect of chronic pain treatments.
According to a study using mouse model by Kyushu University, researchers revealed the identification of a unique population of astrocytes in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord of mice that produces pain hypersensitivity when activated by neurons carrying signals down from the brain which indicate the role of descending neurons in controlling spinal pain transmission, not limited to suppression; suggesting this group of astrocytes as a new target to enhance the effect of chronic pain treatments.

The researcher’s state that an assortment of non-neuronal cells first discovered in the mid-nineteenth century also plays a wide variety of important roles.

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The glial cells named after the Greek word ‘glue’ are now known to be the critical elements for regulating neuronal development and function in the central nervous system.

According to researchers, a detailed understanding of the groupings of astrocytes with distinct properties is yet to be done to understand the different types of glial cells and their roles.