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Mood drug may tackle chronic pain

Thursday February 11th, 2016

A drug under development for mood disorders may also be able to help treat chronic pain, British researchers reported last night.

Researchers at University College, London, have been studying the effects of blocking the protein FKBP51.

Drugs are being developed to block the protein with a view to treating stress-related psychiatric disorders.

But two studies involving laboratory mice suggest the treatment could also help relieve chronic pain, the researchers report in Science Translational Medicine.

The UCL researchers worked with scientists in Texas, USA, in Southampton, UK, and in Munich, Germany.

Scientist Dr Sandrine Géranton said: “The compound was designed to have positive effects on mental health, but we have discovered that it also has significant benefits for physical pain syndromes.

“Who wouldn’t want a treatment that relieves chronic pain while also making you less stressed? This was an experimental study with mice, but if this could be successfully translated into a treatment for patients, it would be a win-win.”

She added: “FKBP51 in the brain can prolong the stress response after trauma and we have found that it also exacerbates the pain response.

"Although this may have once had an evolutionary advantage in promoting survival, in our current lifestyles it can lead to chronic pain, depression and post traumatic stress disorder."

Fellow researcher Dr Maria Maiarù said: “Inhibiting FKBP51 has a very powerful effect in mice with chronic pain.

“Not only does it block the pain from their injury without affecting their normal pain response, it also makes them more mobile. We did not find any negative side-effects.”

Maiarù et al. The stress regulator FKBP51 drives chronic pain by modulating spinal glucocorticoid signaling. Science Translational Medicine 10 February 2016 [abstract]

Tags: Mental Health | Pain Relief | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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Comments

1At 11/02/2016 04:51pm Gary thomson wrote

Can't wait for this to be available in constant pain myself and do not want to be on opiates for ever come from southampton so if you need a human mouse I am your man

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