Treatment by antioxidants may hold promise for those who suffer from neuropathic pain, a malfunction in the nervous system that millions of Americans suffer from. According to a study in the journal Pain, the key to alleviating neuropathic pain may be possible by producing a chemical called GABA.
Spinal nerve cells release GABA which dampen pain impulses; but if the GABA neurons are injured or die, the pain impulses can go out of control.
"GABA neurons are particularly susceptible to oxidative stress, and we hypothesized that reactive oxygen species contribute to neuropathic sensitization by promoting the loss of GABA neurons as well as hindering GABA functions," said UTMB professor Jin Mo Chung, the study's lead researcher.
Testing an antioxidant compound on a group of mice surgically altered to experience neuropathic pain, the researchers found that GABA neurons were restored and "pain behavior" had been lowered.
"If this is true and it works in humans - well, any time you can salvage neurons, it's a good thing," added Chung.
by RTT Staff Writer
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