Researchers have found a new “excitability” mechanism that contributes to chronic inflammatory pain and could help reduce drug doses necessary for treatment. According to a Pain Medicine News report, researchers already knew that the neurons located in the dorsal horn of the brain, where painful stimuli from any injured area of the body, and analgesic information coming from the brain, begin to be processed become “excitable” in the presence of chronic pain. There are not however, a lot of data about the role of the small potassium channels in the dorsal horn in that hyper-excitability of spinal neurons. Study results (using rats) showed that the small potassium channel plays a fundamental role in regulating the neuronal excitability of the spinal cord. Researchers treated the pain with a combination of small potassium channel-activating drugs and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-blocking drugs at very low doses. They believe that the low dose combination could open up new therapeutic potential reducing the negative side effects of high dose medicine for pain.
Read the full overview from Pain Medicine News here.