BDNF protein involved in neuropathic pain

A team of researchers led by Université Laval and The Hospital for Sick Children has discovered a protein that plays a major role in neuropathic pain.
This discovery, published in the Nature, paves the way for the development of new diagnostics and treatments for chronic pain.

Neuropathic pain is a common and severely disabling state that affects millions of people worldwide. Many people suffering from neuropathic pain appear normal, but are in agony experiencing lightning-like pain known as allodynia.

This type of pain can alter perception to a point where previously innocuous or even pleasurable stimuli applied to the skin or tissues become extremely painful. It may be experienced after nerve injury or from diseases that affect peripheral nerve function such as diabetes, shingles, or cancer.

After a peripheral nerve injury there is a biophysical change in spinal cord cells called microglia. Microglia are typically considered to be immune cells in the nervous system, but have now been proven to be involved in neuropathic pain.

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