New technique to fast-track pain research

January 21, 2021

Scientists have for the first time established a sensory neuron model able to mass-reproduce two key sensory neuron types involved in pain sensation, enabling the easy generation of large numbers of the cells to fast-track chronic pain research.

In research applications usually sensory neurons need to be isolated from animals. They represent a wide variety of different cell types, making it difficult to collect and isolate large quantities of pain sensing neurons.

Using a new technique, researchers at Flinders University have found a way to reproduce millions of the cells, providing ample resources for the simultaneous testing of thousands of samples or potential drug libraries.

"Our model replicates sensory neurons found in bundles called dorsal root ganglia next to the spinal cord. These house the majority of the sensory fibres in the whole body that are capable of detecting heat, noxious chemicals and pressure, itch and cold," says Flinders University's Dr Dusan Matusica, who led the new study.

Dr Matusica says these neurons are involved in collating and transmitting all the signals from the body to the spinal cord, and then the brain.

"Scientists have long known that a subgroup of these neurons is critical in transmitting signals that lead to feelings of pain, and that changes in their signalling leads to the development of chronic pain.

"But together with challenges in isolating sufficient quantities of the neural cells, we have the additional challenge of cells dying in the isolation process.

"Our model means that for the first time, we can easily generate pure populations of these two types of sensory cells in culture, providing the opportunity to get further insights into their function."

Dr Matusica says this new finding has significant implications for researchers around the world, with billions of the cells able to the cultured in as short a time as a week if needed, substantially reducing scientists' reliance on animals in the initial discovery phases of research projects.

The multidisciplinary research team has also genetically sequenced the two neural cells in their entirety, meaning researchers around the world can quickly and easily determine whether they are suitable for their studies.
-end-
The article, Differentiation of the 50B11 dorsal root ganglion cells into NGF and GDNF responsive nociceptor subtypes (2020), by D Matusica, J Canlas, AM Martin, Y Wei, S Marri, A Erickson, CM Barry, SM Brierley, OG Best, MZ Michael, NH Voelcker, DJ Keating and RV Haberberger has been published in Molecular Pain DOI: 10.1177/1744806920970368

Flinders University

Related Neurons Articles from Brightsurf:

Paying attention to the neurons behind our alertness
The neurons of layer 6 - the deepest layer of the cortex - were examined by researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University to uncover how they react to sensory stimulation in different behavioral states.

Trying to listen to the signal from neurons
Toyohashi University of Technology has developed a coaxial cable-inspired needle-electrode.

A mechanical way to stimulate neurons
Magnetic nanodiscs can be activated by an external magnetic field, providing a research tool for studying neural responses.

Extraordinary regeneration of neurons in zebrafish
Biologists from the University of Bayreuth have discovered a uniquely rapid form of regeneration in injured neurons and their function in the central nervous system of zebrafish.

Dopamine neurons mull over your options
Researchers at the University of Tsukuba have found that dopamine neurons in the brain can represent the decision-making process when making economic choices.

Neurons thrive even when malnourished
When animal, insect or human embryos grow in a malnourished environment, their developing nervous systems get first pick of any available nutrients so that new neurons can be made.

The first 3D map of the heart's neurons
An interdisciplinary research team establishes a new technological pipeline to build a 3D map of the neurons in the heart, revealing foundational insight into their role in heart attacks and other cardiac conditions.

Mapping the neurons of the rat heart in 3D
A team of researchers has developed a virtual 3D heart, digitally showcasing the heart's unique network of neurons for the first time.

How to put neurons into cages
Football-shaped microscale cages have been created using special laser technologies.

A molecule that directs neurons
A research team coordinated by the University of Trento studied a mass of brain cells, the habenula, linked to disorders like autism, schizophrenia and depression.

Read More: Neurons News and Neurons Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.