Discover the Molecular Mechanism Driven by Pain and Anxiety

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Breathing may be impacted on a cellular level by pain and anxiety as per a study at the Salk Institute, published in Neuron.

The very sound/sense of a threat is known to startle someone, resulting in rapid breathing, smashing the elbow, and panting in pain. The study for the first time discovers a neural circuit that coordinates breathing with negative emotions.

‘Neural circuit that affects the breathing of a person when dealing with negative emotions like pain and anxiety has been finally discovered.’

These findings not only contribute to the fields of pain management, psychological theories of anxiety, and layout philosophical investigations into the nature of pain, but also may lead to the development of an analgesic that would help prevent opioid-induced respiratory depression (OIRD), or overdose deaths.

The team focused on a group of neurons in the brainstem called the lateral parabrachial nucleus (arranged in a core-shell configuration). The core and shell neurons further influence each other based on their inputs for allowing faster breathing during pain or anxiety.

“We are the first group to demonstrate how the lateral parabrachial nucleus coordinates breathing and pain. By understanding the circuits in this brain region, we may be able to tease apart breathing regulation and pain regulation to develop a medication that inhibits feelings of pain without repressing breathing, like OIRD,” says the paper’s senior author, Sung Han, assistant professor in Salk’s Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology.

Source: Medindia


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