Chronic Pain: Protein Blocks Problem In Mice

First Posted: Feb 11, 2016 06:55 PM EST

Researchers at the University College of London have discovered how to treat chronic pain in mice by blocking a protein that's linked to a stress response in the brain. The findings are published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

By using a drug with a purpose of regulating stress for mood disorder patients, it stopped pain relating to chronic pain in mice. Furthermore, they found that the compound, SAFit2, blocked chronic pain in mice, without affecting their normal pain responses--meanwhile cutting out the stress protein FKBP51 that's linked to psychiatric disorders like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"The compound was designed to have positive effects on mental health, but we have discovered that it also has significant benefits for physical pain syndromes," said Dr. Sandrine Géranton, a cell and developmental biology researcher at University College London, in a news release.

During the study, researchers gave mice the drug. Findings showed that it helped alleviate chronic pain. However, it did not affect their ability to feel pain.

The researchers also reported that injuries can trigger changes that lead to increased production of FKBP51, which contributes to basic pain response, stress, and the development of chronic pain.

"Who wouldn't want a treatment that relieves chronic pain while also making you less stressed?" Géranton said. "This was an experimental study with mice, but if this could be successfully translated into a treatment for patients, it would be a win-win."

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