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Ion channel responsible for pain identified by UB neuroscientists
Date:12/17/2010

nges. This sensitization causes a state of "hyperalgesia," or increased sensitivity to pain.

"Merely touching the inflamed area can be very painful," notes Bhattacharjee. "The ionic mechanisms that are chiefly responsible for this inflammatory-mediated change in nociceptive firing had not been clearly identified.

"We were able to demonstrate that a certain class of potassium channels is removed from the surface of nociceptive cells during inflammatory signaling. The removal of these ion channels is linked to the hypersensitivity of these nerve cells. We demonstrated that reducing the expression of these channels by gene interference techniques produced a similar nociceptor hyperexcitability. "

Bhattacharjee says his team plans to extend their ion channel "trafficking" studies to in vivo models, using peptide inhibitors to try to prevent the removal of the potassium channels from the surface of nociceptors during inflammation.

"We expect to show that maintaining these channels at the surface during inflammation will be effective for pain relief. Successful completion of our studies will provide the impetus for direct human clinical trials. Megan O. Nuwer, PhD, and Kelly E. Picchione, PhD, both in the neuroscience program, are co-authors on the paper.


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Contact: Lois Baker
ljbaker@buffalo.edu
716-645-4606
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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