A New Class of Painkillers Could Target Neurons in the Amygdala

A study done on mice showed that the activation of neurons called CeAGA makes it possible to suppress pain in rodents.Brain

“Many people think there’s a central area that relieves pain,” says neurobiologist Fan Wang, “which is why placebos work.” The scientific community has been looking for the location of this area. Professor Wang’s team may have found the answer. According to research published in Nature Neuroscience, it could be the amygdala, an area of the brain associated with emotions like fear and anxiety.

Read Also: Drug Addiction: Overcoming Dependencies and Avoiding Overdoses

The role of CeAGA

“Most previous studies have focused on areas that are activated by pain,” he says. But there are so many areas that are responsible for pain that they all need to be inactivated to stop it. While only this area can eliminate pain by itself. To understand the role of the amygdala, Fan Wang and his team analyzed the effects of general anesthesia on neurons. They found that it activates a subset of inhibitory neurons in the amygdala, known as CeAGA neurons. These are linked to several other areas of the brain. By artificially stimulating pain in rats, they were able to create a map of the areas connected to the CeAGA neurons.

Read Also: Could Stem Cell Injections Get Rid of Low Back Pain Completely?

Immediate effects

“Pain is a complex brain reaction,” says Fan Wang, “involving sensory, emotional, and automatic reactions of the nervous system.” Optogenetics, a technique that uses light to act on nerve cells, has enabled them to avoid these brain reactions in rats. For example, by activating the CeAGA neurons, the rats stopped licking their paws or cleaning their heads. “It’s radical,” stresses the researcher, “they stopped immediately!

Read Also: Common Painkiller Diclofenac Linked with Increased Cardiovascular Risk

A new class of painkillers

The researchers also discovered that these neurons are crucial for the effect of painkillers. For instance, low-dose ketamine, used as an analgesic, stimulates them. However, the effectiveness of Ketamine is nulled when these neurons are inactivated. The Fan Wang team now wants to continue its research to develop a treatment that can only activate CeAga neurons. By being able to do this it would be possible to come up with a new class of pain killers.

References

Article Published: 18 May 2020 General anesthetics activate a potent central pain-suppression circuit in the amygdala

Related Articles

Natural Remedies For Pain Versus Prescription Painkillers

Unexplained Pain: What You Should Know!

Sleep-Related Painful Erections: Latest Facts, Diagnosis, Causes and Treatments

 

Conversation

Want to live your best life?

Get the Gilmore Health Weekly newsletter for health tips, wellness updates and more.

By clicking "Subscribe," I agree to the Gilmore Health and . I also agree to receive emails from Gilmore Health and I understand that I may opt out of Gilmore Health subscriptions at any time.