chikungunya and viral leishmaniasis. Let us know in the comments below.painful conditions, said the senior author of the studyAllan BasbaumPhDchair of the Department of Anatomy at UCSF Those who suffer from chronic pain often get little reliefeven from powerful narcotic painkillersaccording to Basbaum Gabapentinan anticonvulsant first used to treat epilepsynow is regarded as the most effective treatment for neuropathic pain Howeverit is effective for only roughly 30 percent of patientsand even in those people it only provides about 30 percent relief of the painhe said The explanation for neuropathic painresearch showedis that following injury neurons may be lostor central nervous system circuitry may changein ways that are maladaptivecompromising signals that normally help dampen pain These changes contribute to a state of hyper-excitabilityenhancing the transmission of pain messages to the brain and causing normally innocuous stimuli to become painful The inhibitory neurons that are damaged in the spinal cord to cause pain hypersensitivity release a molecule that normally transmits inhibitory signals the neurotransmitter GABA A loss of GABA inhibition also is implicated in epilepsy and may play a role in Parkinson’s disease Gabapentin does not mimic GABAbut it helps to compensate for the loss of inhibition that GABA normally would provide Basbaum’s UCSF colleaguesincluding study co-authors Arturo Alvarez-BuyllaPhDand Arnold KriegsteinMDPhDalong with Scott BarabanPhDhad already been experimenting with transplanting immature neurons that make GABAusing the transplanted neurons to bolster inhibitory signals in mouse models to prevent epileptic seizures and to combat a Parkinson’s-like disease Howeverin those experiments the cells which originate in a region of the forebrain known as the medial ganglionic eminence were transplanted within the brain itselfwhich is their normal home Upon hearing about the researchBasbaum became interested in transplanting the same cells into the spinal cord as a potential treatment for the loss of GABA-driven inhibition in neuropathic pain Success was by no means assuredas cells normally do not survive outside their natural environments within such a complex organism Another co-author of the Neuron studyUCSF researcher John RubensteinPhDhas made major progress in identifying molecules that can be manipulated to lead an embryonic stem cell to go through developmental stages that cause it to acquire the properties of GABA neurons that derive from the medial ganglionic eminence According to Kriegsteinwho directs the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF?

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