Pain gene

Painting representing the DNA for a gene involved in musculoskeletal pain. The letters are the DNA code for the gene, acid sensing ion channel 3  (ASIC3). The structure in the middle is a DNA helix. From this genetic code cells make a protein to eventually get expressed in pain receptors. My laboratory has spent many years trying to understand how ASIC3 mediates chronic musculoskeletal pain. It is an ion channel found on pain receptors in muscles and joints. When activated, by decreases in pH, it send signals to the central nervous system transmitting the pain signals to the brain. We have shown that this gene mediates pain associated with inflammation, chronic muscle pain, and exercise-induced pain. After injury the pain cells increase their production of this gene resulting in more protein in the pain cells of joints and muscles. Blocking ASIC3 can reduce muscle and joint pain. Our goal is to determine if this is a good potential new target to use to treat chronic and inflammatory pain.

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