Adenosine receptor holds key to pain relief

Adenosine receptor holds key to pain relief

New research into the adenosine receptor has uncovered a way to block a pain pathway in animal models of chronic neuropathic pain, suggesting a promising new approach to pain relief.

A team from St Louis University, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other academic institutions demonstrated that turning on a receptor in the brain and spinal cord counteracts chronic nerve pain in male and female rodents. The researchers, led by Daniela Salvemini, showed that activating the A3 receptor – either by its native chemical stimulator, the small molecule adenosine, or by powerful synthetic small molecule drugs invented at NIH – prevents or reverses pain that develops slowly from nerve damage, without causing analgesic tolerance or intrinsic reward.
Pain is an enormous problem and, as an unmet medical need, causes suffering and comes with a huge societal cost. The majority of current treatments cause…

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