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Neuropathic pain arises as a debilitating consequence of nerve injury. The etiology of such pain is poorly understood, and existing treatment is largely ineffective. We demonstrate here that glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) both prevented and reversed sensory abnormalities that developed in neuropathic pain models, without affecting pain-related behavior in normal animals. GDNF reduces ectopic discharges within sensory neurons after nerve injury. This may arise as a consequence of the reversal by GDNF of the injury-induced plasticity of several sodium channel subunits. Together these findings provide a rational basis for the use of GDNF as a therapeutic treatment for neuropathic pain states.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Science

Publication Date

06/10/2000

Volume

290

Pages

124 - 127

Keywords

Action Potentials, Analgesics, Non-Narcotic, Animals, Ganglia, Spinal, Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Hot Temperature, Hyperalgesia, Ligation, Nerve Fibers, Nerve Fibers, Myelinated, Nerve Growth Factors, Nerve Tissue Proteins, Neural Conduction, Neurons, Afferent, Pain, Pain Threshold, Peripheral Nervous System Diseases, Rats, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Sciatic Nerve, Sodium Channels, Spinal Nerves, Touch