A double-drug approach for chronic pain

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Science  29 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6272, pp. 462-463
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6272.462-c

Chronic pain is a major reason why people visit a doctor. Unfortunately, the underlying causes of chronic pain are still poorly understood. To gain more insight, Ren et al. studied a mouse model of neuropathic pain. Nerve injury resulted in a rewiring of neuronal circuits in a region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which regulates emotions and addictive behavior. The excitability of some neurons increased, but their number of excitatory synapses fell. Nerve injury also led to reduced extracellular dopamine concentrations in the nucleus accumbens. Combined treatment of mice with dopamine receptor antagonists and a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug blunted neuropathic pain, suggesting potential new drug combinations for treating chronic pain.

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