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Sci. Signal., 11 August 2009
Vol. 2, Issue 83, p. ec269
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.283ec269]


Neuroscience Plastic Pain Perception

Peter R. Stern

Science, AAAS, Cambridge CB2 1LQ, UK

Drugs and endocannabinoids acting on cannabinoid (CB) receptors have potential in the treatment of certain types of pain. In the spinal cord, they are believed to suppress nociception, the perception of pain and noxious stimuli. Pernía-Andrade et al. now find that endocannabinoids, which are released in the spinal cord by noxious stimulation, may promote rather than inhibit nociception by acting on CB1 receptors. Endocannabinoids not only depress transmission at excitatory synapses in the spinal cord but also block the release of inhibitory neurotransmitters, thereby facilitating nociception.

A. J. Pernía-Andrade, A. Kato, R. Witschi, R. Nyilas, I. Katona, T. F. Freund, M. Watanabe, J. Filitz, W. Koppert, J. Schüttler, G. Ji, V. Neugebauer, G. Marsicano, B. Lutz, H. Vanegas, H. U. Zeilhofer, Spinal endocannabinoids and CB1 receptors mediate C-fiber–induced heterosynaptic pain sensitization. Science 325, 760–764 (2009). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: P. R. Stern, Plastic Pain Perception. Sci. Signal. 2, ec269 (2009).

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