A gene responsible for regulating chronic pain, called HCN2, has been identified by scientists at the University of Cambridge. The research, published last week in the journal Science, opens up the possibility of targeting drugs to block the protein produced by the gene in order to combat chronic pain.
Following on from promising results in cell cultures, researchers found that mice genetically altered to remove the HCN2 gene did not suffer from neuropathic pain but that their response to acute pain was unaffected.
Professor Peter McNaughton, lead author of the study and Head of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge, said: “What is exciting about the work on the HCN2 gene is that removing it – or blocking it pharmacologically- eliminates neuropathic pain without affecting normal acute pain. This finding could be very valuable clinically because normal pain sensation is essential for avoiding accidental damage.”
To read the full article from University of Cambridge Research News click here
Emery EC, Young GT, Berrocoso EM, Chen L, McNaughton PA “HCN2 Ion channels Play a Central Role in Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain” Science. 2011 Sep 9;333(6048):1462-6 DOI: 10.1126/science.1206243 Link
Adapted from image by Malec Slomas from Creative Commons on Flickr