Chronic Pain Associated with Activation of Brain’s Glial Cells

Patients with chronic pain show signs of glial activation in brain centers that modulate pain, according to results from a PET-MRI study.
“Glia appears to be involved in the pathophysiology of chronic pain, and therefore we should consider developing therapeutic approaches targeting glia,” Dr. Marco L. Loggia from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts, told Reuters Health by email.
“Glial activation is accompanied by many cellular responses, which include the production and release of substances (such as so-called ‘pro-inflammatory cytokines’) that can sensitize the pain pathways in the central nervous system,” he explained. “Thus, glial activation is not a mere reaction to a pain state but actively contributes to the establishment and/or maintenance of persistent pain.”

Continue Reading

Food or Flight? Molecular Mechanics of Risk-Reward Equation Described

The hungrier the mouse, the more risk it will take to grab cheese on the floor of a home with a house cat.

“But how does it make this risk-reward computation?” asks Michael Nitabach, professor of cellular and molecular physiology and professor of genetics at Yale.

Continue Reading