Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Oxford researchers have discovered a gene that regulates pain sensitisation by amplifying pain signals within the spinal cord, helping them to understand an important mechanism underlying chronic pain in humans and providing a new treatment target.

Genomic sequences visualization graph

Chronic pain is a common issue affecting millions of people worldwide, but why some people are more prone to it and what factors lead to chronic pain are not fully understood.

It is well known that repeated stimulation, such as with a sharp pin prick, can lead to a heightened sensitivity to pain. This process is called ‘pain wind-up’ and contributes to clinical pain disorders.

In a two-part study, researchers from Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences firstly compared genetic variation in samples from over 1,000 participants from Colombia, to look for clues as to whether there were any genetic variants more common in people who experienced greater pain wind-up. They noted a significant difference in variants of one specific gene (the protein Sodium Calcium exchanger type-3, NCX3).

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

Similar stories

New research reveals relationship between particular brain circuits and different aspects of mental wellbeing

Researchers at the University of Oxford have uncovered previously unknown details about how changes in the brain contribute to changes in wellbeing.

Night-time blood pressure assessment is found to be important in diagnosing hypertension

Around 15% of people aged 40-75 may have a form of undiagnosed high blood pressure (hypertension) that occurs only at night-time. Because they do not know about this, and therefore are not being treated for it, they are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease such as stroke, heart failure, and even death, suggests new research from the University of Oxford published in the British Journal of General Practice.

Major new NIHR Global Health Research Unit to focus on data science and genomic surveillance of antimicrobial resistance

The Centre for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance, part of the Big Data Institute at the University of Oxford, has been awarded funding worth £7m for their work as an NIHR Global Health Research Unit (GHRU) for the next five years. The Centre’s research and capacity building work focuses on delivering genomics and enabling data for the surveillance of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

How artificial intelligence is shaping medical imaging

Dr Qiang Zhang of the Radcliffe Department of Medicine explains how artificial intelligence is being used to help researchers and physicians interpret medical imaging.

Researchers describe how cancer cells can defend themselves from the consequences of certain genetic defects

Researchers in Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics have identified a rescue mechanism that allows cancers to overcome the consequences of inactivating mutations in critically important genes.