Website URL:
   ScienceDaily 
     _____________________________________________

   Your source for the latest research news
   Follow Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Subscribe RSS Feeds Newsletters
   New:
     * Rarely Heard Narwhal Vocalizations
     * New Class of Cosmic Explosions Discovered
     * Bumblebees Speed Up Flowering
     * Women With Neanderthal Gene: Better Fertility?
     * Dinosaur-Dooming Asteroid: Deadliest Angle
     * Babies Know When You Imitate Them
     * COVID-19: Drop in Global Carbon Emissions
     * Tipping Point Temperature for Tropical Forests
     * 'Eden' for Ancient Humans and Animals
     * How Extraterrestrial Life Might Evolve

   advertisement
   Follow all of ScienceDaily's latest research news and top science headlines!

   Science News
   from research organizations
     _____________________________________________

1

2

Scientists find brain center that 'profoundly' shuts down pain

   Date:
          May 18, 2020

   Source:
          Duke University

   Summary:
          A research team has found a small area of the brain in mice that can profoundly control the animals' sense of pain. Somewhat unexpectedly, this brain center turns pain off, not on. It's located in an area where few people would have thought to look for an anti-pain center, the amygdala, which is often considered the home of negative emotions and responses, like the fight or flight response and general anxiety.

   Share:
              

   FULL STORY
     _____________________________________________

   Neurons illustration | Credit: © peterschreiber.media / stock.adobe.com
   Neurons illustration (stock image).
   Credit: © peterschreiber.media / stock.adobe.com
   Neurons illustration | Credit: © peterschreiber.media / stock.adobe.com
   Neurons illustration (stock image).
   Credit: © peterschreiber.media / stock.adobe.com
   (BUTTON) Close

   A Duke University research team has found a small area of the brain in mice that can profoundly control the animals' sense of pain.
   advertisement
     _____________________________________________

   Somewhat unexpectedly, this brain center turns pain off, not on. It's also located in an area where few people would have thought to look for an anti-pain center, the amygdala, which is often considered the home of negative emotions and responses, like the fight or flight response and general anxiety.

   "People do believe there is a central place to relieve pain, that's why placebos work," said senior author Fan Wang, the Morris N. Broad Distinguished Professor of neurobiology in the School of Medicine. "The question is where in the brain is the center that can turn off pain."

   "Most of the previous studies have focused on which regions are turned ON by pain," Wang said. "But there are so many regions processing pain, you'd have to turn them all off to stop pain. Whereas this one center can turn off the pain by itself."

   The work is a follow-up to earlier research in Wang's lab looking at neurons that are activated, rather than suppressed, by general anesthetics. In a 2019 study, they found that general anesthesia promotes slow-wave sleep by activating the supraoptic nucleus of the brain. But sleep and pain are separate, an important clue that led to the new finding, which appears online May 18 in Nature Neuroscience.

   The researchers found that general anesthesia also activates a specific subset of inhibitory neurons in the central amygdala, which they have called the CeAga neurons (CeA stands for central amygdala; ga indicates activation by general anesthesia). Mice have a relatively larger central amygdala than humans, but Wang said she had no reason to think we have a different system for controlling pain.
   advertisement
     _____________________________________________

   Using technologies that Wang's lab has pioneered to track the paths of activated neurons in mice, the team found the CeAga was connected to many different areas of the brain, "which was a surprise," Wang said.

   By giving mice a mild pain stimulus, the researchers could map all of the pain-activated brain regions. They discovered that at least 16 brain centers known to process the sensory or emotional aspects of pain were receiving inhibitory input from the CeAga.

   "Pain is a complicated brain response," Wang said. "It involves sensory discrimination, emotion, and autonomic (involuntary nervous system) responses. Treating pain by dampening all of these brain processes in many areas is very difficult to achieve. But activating a key node that naturally sends inhibitory signals to these pain-processing regions would be more robust."

   Using a technology called optogenetics, which uses light to activate a small population of cells in the brain, the researchers found they could turn off the self-caring behaviors a mouse exhibits when it feels uncomfortable by activating the CeAga neurons. Paw-licking or face-wiping behaviors were "completely abolished" the moment the light was switched on to activate the anti-pain center.

   "It's so drastic," Wang said. "They just instantaneously stop licking and rubbing."

   When the scientists dampened the activity of these CeAga neurons, the mice responded as if a temporary insult had become intense or painful again. They also found that low-dose ketamine, an anesthetic drug that allows sensation but blocks pain, activated the CeAga center and wouldn't work without it.

   Now the researchers are going to look for drugs that can activate only these cells to suppress pain as potential future pain killers, Wang said.

   "The other thing we're trying to do is to (transcriptome) sequence the hell out of these cells," she said. The researchers are hoping to find the gene for a rare or unique cell surface receptor among these specialized cells that would enable a very specific drug to activate these neurons and relieve pain.

   This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (DP1MH103908, R01 DE029342, R01 NS109947, R01 DE027454), the Holland-Trice Scholar Award, the W.M. Keck Foundation, and a predoctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation.
   make a difference: sponsored opportunity
     _____________________________________________

   Story Source:

   Materials provided by Duke University. Original written by Karl Leif Bates. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
     _____________________________________________

   Journal Reference:
    1. Thuy Hua, Bin Chen, Dongye Lu, Katsuyasu Sakurai, Shengli Zhao, Bao-Xia Han, Jiwoo Kim, Luping Yin, Yong Chen, Jinghao Lu, Fan Wang. General anesthetics activate a potent central pain-suppression circuit in the amygdala. Nature Neuroscience, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41593-020-0632-8
     _____________________________________________

   Cite This Page:
     * MLA
     * APA
     * Chicago

   Duke University. "Scientists find brain center that 'profoundly' shuts down pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2020. .
   Duke University. (2020, May 18). Scientists find brain center that 'profoundly' shuts down pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 27, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200518145008.htm
   Duke University. "Scientists find brain center that 'profoundly' shuts down pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200518145008.htm (accessed May 27, 2020).
     * RELATED TOPICS
          + Health & Medicine
               o Pain Control
               o Fibromyalgia
               o Neuropathy
               o Nervous System
          + Mind & Brain
               o Brain Injury
               o Neuroscience
               o Disorders and Syndromes
               o Brain-Computer Interfaces

   advertisement
     _____________________________________________

     * RELATED TERMS
          + Aggression
          + Amygdala
          + Panic attack
          + Human brain
          + Brain
          + Chronic pain
          + Nociceptor
          + Gate control theory of pain

1

2

3

4

5

   RELATED STORIES
     _____________________________________________

I Feel You: Emotional Mirror Neurons Found in the Rat

   Apr. 11, 2019 — Researchers have found that the rat brain activates the same cells when they observe the pain of others as when they experience pain themselves. In addition, without activity of these 'mirror ...

Blunting Pain's Emotional Component

   Mar. 13, 2019 — Pain researchers have shown in rodents that they can block receptors on brain cells that appear to be responsible for the negative emotions associated with pain, such as sadness, depression and ...

Optical Control of a Neuroreceptor Alleviates Chronic Pain

   Dec. 21, 2016 — Pain serves as a valuable warning signal, but when it becomes chronic, pain should be considered as a real disease. An international team has identified and controlled one of the centers associated ...

Meaning of Brain Scans for 'Pain' Called Into Question

   Apr. 25, 2016 — Patterns of brain activity thought to show pain responses have been called into question after researchers saw such patterns in rare patients born without a sense of pain. The study was designed to ...
   FROM AROUND THE WEB
     _____________________________________________

   Below are relevant articles that may interest you. ScienceDaily shares links with scholarly publications in the TrendMD network and earns revenue from third-party advertisers, where indicated.
     Print    Email   Share
     _____________________________________________

   advertisement
     _____________________________________________

1

2

3

4

5

   Most Popular
   this week
     _____________________________________________

   HEALTH & MEDICINE

Vitamin D Determines Severity in COVID-19 So Government Advice Needs to Change, Experts Urge

Doctor, vitamin D | Credit: (c) Michail Petrov / stock.adobe.com Vitamin D Levels Appear to Play Role in COVID-19 Mortality Rates

Loss of Smell and Taste Validated as COVID-19 Symptoms in Patients With High Recovery Rate

   MIND & BRAIN

Neurons illustration | Credit: (c) peterschreiber.media / stock.adobe.com Scientists Find Brain Center That 'Profoundly' Shuts Down Pain

Fatty food concept | Credit: (c) anaumenko / stock.adobe.com Our Ability to Focus May Falter After Eating One Meal High in Saturated Fat

Exercise Improves Memory, Boosts Blood Flow to Brain

   LIVING & WELL

The Best Material for Homemade Face Masks May Be a Combination of Two Fabrics

Boy or Girl? It's in the Father's Genes

Father and child walking | Credit: (c) kieferpix / stock.adobe.com Reexamining the Origins of Human Fatherhood

   advertisement
     _____________________________________________

   Strange & Offbeat
     _____________________________________________

   HEALTH & MEDICINE

DNA abstract | Credit: (c) BillionPhotos.com / stock.adobe.com Increased Fertility for Women With Neanderthal Gene, Study Suggests

Engineers Develop Low-Cost, High-Accuracy GPS-Like System for Flexible Medical Robots

Fatty food concept | Credit: (c) anaumenko / stock.adobe.com Our Ability to Focus May Falter After Eating One Meal High in Saturated Fat

   MIND & BRAIN

Multifunctional E-Glasses Monitor Health, Protect Eyes, Control Video Games

Chimpanzees Help Trace the Evolution of Human Speech Back to Ancient Ancestors

Designing Technologies That Interpret Your Mood from Your Skin

   LIVING & WELL

Hearts That Drum Together Beat Together

What We Can't See Can Help Us Find Things

Reduced Obesity for Weighted-Vest Wearers

   (BUTTON) Toggle navigation Menu   SD
     * SD
          + Home Page
          +
          + Top Science News
          +
          + Latest News

     * Home 
          + Home Page
          +
          + Top Science News
          +
          + Latest News
     * Health 
          + View all the latest top news in the health sciences,
            or browse the topics below:
            Health & Medicine
               o Allergy
               o Alternative Medicine
               o Birth Control
               o Cancer
               o Diabetes
               o Diseases
               o Heart Disease
               o HIV and AIDS
               o Obesity
               o Stem Cells
               o ... more topics
            Mind & Brain
               o ADD and ADHD
               o Addiction
               o Alzheimer's
               o Autism
               o Depression
               o Headaches
               o Intelligence
               o Psychology
               o Relationships
               o Schizophrenia
               o ... more topics
            Living Well
               o Parenting
               o Pregnancy
               o Sexual Health
               o Skin Care
               o Men's Health
               o Women's Health
               o Nutrition
               o Diet and Weight Loss
               o Fitness
               o Healthy Aging
               o ... more topics
     * Tech 
          + View all the latest top news in the physical sciences & technology,
            or browse the topics below:
            Matter & Energy
               o Aviation
               o Chemistry
               o Electronics
               o Fossil Fuels
               o Nanotechnology
               o Physics
               o Quantum Physics
               o Solar Energy
               o Technology
               o Wind Energy
               o ... more topics
            Space & Time
               o Astronomy
               o Black Holes
               o Dark Matter
               o Extrasolar Planets
               o Mars
               o Moon
               o Solar System
               o Space Telescopes
               o Stars
               o Sun
               o ... more topics
            Computers & Math
               o Artificial Intelligence
               o Communications
               o Computer Science
               o Hacking
               o Mathematics
               o Quantum Computers
               o Robotics
               o Software
               o Video Games
               o Virtual Reality
               o ... more topics
     * Enviro 
          + View all the latest top news in the environmental sciences,
            or browse the topics below:
            Plants & Animals
               o Agriculture and Food
               o Animals
               o Biology
               o Biotechnology
               o Endangered Animals
               o Extinction
               o Genetically Modified
               o Microbes and More
               o New Species
               o Zoology
               o ... more topics
            Earth & Climate
               o Climate
               o Earthquakes
               o Environment
               o Geography
               o Geology
               o Global Warming
               o Hurricanes
               o Ozone Holes
               o Pollution
               o Weather
               o ... more topics
            Fossils & Ruins
               o Ancient Civilizations
               o Anthropology
               o Archaeology
               o Dinosaurs
               o Early Humans
               o Early Mammals
               o Evolution
               o Lost Treasures
               o Origin of Life
               o Paleontology
               o ... more topics
     * Society 
          + View all the latest top news in the social sciences & education,
            or browse the topics below:
            Science & Society
               o Arts & Culture
               o Consumerism
               o Economics
               o Political Science
               o Privacy Issues
               o Public Health
               o Racial Disparity
               o Religion
               o Sports
               o World Development
               o ... more topics
            Business & Industry
               o Biotechnology & Bioengineering
               o Computers & Internet
               o Energy & Resources
               o Engineering
               o Medical Technology
               o Pharmaceuticals
               o Transportation
               o ... more topics
            Education & Learning
               o Animal Learning & Intelligence
               o Creativity
               o Educational Psychology
               o Educational Technology
               o Infant & Preschool Learning
               o Learning Disorders
               o STEM Education
               o ... more topics
     * Quirky 
          + Top News
          +
          + Human Quirks
          + Odd Creatures
          + Bizarre Things
          + Weird World

   Free Subscriptions
     _____________________________________________

   Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:
     * Email Newsletters
     * RSS Feeds

   Follow Us
     _____________________________________________

   Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks:
     * Facebook
     * Twitter
     * LinkedIn

   Have Feedback?
     _____________________________________________

   Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
     * Leave Feedback
     * Contact Us

   About This Site  |  Staff  |  Reviews  |  Contribute  |  Advertise  |  Privacy Policy  |  Editorial Policy  |  Terms of Use
   Copyright 2020 ScienceDaily or by other parties, where indicated. All rights controlled by their respective owners.
   Content on this website is for information only. It is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice.
   Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily, its staff, its contributors, or its partners.
   Financial support for ScienceDaily comes from advertisements and referral programs, where indicated.
   — CCPA: Do Not Sell My Information — — GDPR: Privacy Settings —