Apr 21, 2022

Botulinum toxin can relieve orofacial pain in zebrafish by blocking TRPV1 and NMDA receptors

Botulinum toxin is typically used to treat pain related to excessive muscle contractions, however there is evidence that it may also have utility in treating orofacial pain not caused by muscle tension. To understand mechanistically how botulinum toxin may relieve different types of pain, UTCSP member Dr. Barry Sessle and colleagues tested the effect of botulinum toxin type A (BoNT/A) in a zebrafish model of orofacial pain.
Feb 11, 2022

Sex differences in the development of depressive-like behaviour in a mouse model of neuropathic pain

Chronic pain and depression are highly comorbid. The risk of developing comorbid depression with chronic pain is greater in women, yet research on the potential sex-specific mechanisms underlying the co-occurrence of chronic pain and depression remains limited. There is some evidence that the activation of microglia – principal immune cells in the brain – are involved in chronic pain hypersensitivity in a sex-specific manner. To better understand sex differences in the neurobiological mechanisms of comorbid pain and depression, and whether microglia activation may underlie these sex differences, UTCSP member Dr. Loren Martin and collaborators investigated depressive-like behaviour and glial cell expression in a rodent model of neuropathic pain.  
Jan 21, 2022

A Novel Form of Radiofrequency Ablation for Relieving Coccydynia

Coccydynia or coccygodynia is pain that occurs in the coccyx of the spinal cord. This type of pain can stem from multiple risk factors including gender, obesity, childbirth history, trauma, and tissue pathologies, making pain management a clinical challenge. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a local analgesic strategy and intervention for patients refractory to conservative treatment that often results in long-lasting pain relief. It involves the insertion of radiofrequency (RF) needles through the sacrococcygeal and intercoccygeal joints, joints innervated by the coccygeal plexus, which are the source of this type of pain. However, current methods of RF lesion orientation and shape do not optimally cover the anatomical surface of these joints. UTCSP scientist Dr. Philip Peng and colleagues addressed this gap by describing a novel method of RFA that takes an anterior approach to access the sacrococcygeal and intercoccygeal joints. 
Dec 10, 2021

Improving public knowledge of pain mitigation strategies for adult vaccine injections

Adult routine vaccination rates consistently fail to meet national targets in most countries. While factors affecting vaccine hesitancy are complex, concerns about pain and needle fears contribute to reduced vaccine uptake. Despite approximately one in four adults being afraid of needles, there is limited research on pain mitigation in adults receiving vaccinations. UTCSP member Dr. Anna Taddio and collaborators provided an educational pamphlet to adults receiving vaccine injections that outlines evidence-based pain mitigation strategies in order to assess its impact on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours towards such strategies.     
Nov 18, 2021

The role of alternative splicing in controlling non-ionotropic signalling of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors of the central nervous system

N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) are receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) known for their role in disease, plasticity and neuronal development. They are made up of two glycine-binding GluN1 subunits and two glutamate-binding GluN2 subunits. Typically, NMDARs signal ionotropically (with ion influx), however increasing evidence suggests that these receptors also signal non-ionotropically, or metabotropically. This occurs through glycine binding on the GluN1 subunits, but the molecular control of non-ionotropic signaling in NMDARs remains unknown. The GluN1 subunit comprises of eight alternatively spliced isoforms produced by the inclusion or exclusion of N1 and the C1, C2, C2’ polypeptide cassettes. Given the diversity that exists in GluN1 isoforms within the CNS and the role that differential splicing has on hippocampal long-term potentiation, UTCSP scientist Dr. Michael Salter and colleagues investigated whether alternative splicing of GluN1 would affect non-ionotropic signaling of NMDARs on hippocampal neurons. To do this, they examined glycine-induced signaling with all eight splice isoforms of GluN1 with heterologously expressed NMDARs in mice; representative isoforms in mice engineered to express only GluN1a (lacking N1 cassette) or GluN1b (containing N1 cassette) variants, and wild-type mice (WT).
Oct 14, 2021

Baseline functional connectivity of key nodes in pain processing and modulation determine subsequent pain ratings of an ecologically valid model of orofacial pain

Neuroimaging studies have identified that individual differences in pain sensitivity are related to structural gray matter differences and functional connectivity between brain regions involved in pain processing. However, experimental pain models in these laboratory studies are limited in ecological validity, as they do not mimic the persistent pain that typically occurs in real-life experiences. UTCSP members Dr. Iacopo Cioffi and Dr. Massieh Moayedi and colleagues investigated whether baseline structure and function of key brain regions involved in ascending and descending pain pathways correlate with subsequent peak pain intensity ratings induced by an ecologically and clinically relevant orofacial pain model.
Aug 26, 2021

2021/22 UTCSP Pain Scientist Scholarship Awardees

Congratulations to the following students who received the 2021/22 UTCSP Pain Scientist Scholarship:

Prabjit Ajawat (Hance Clarke lab)
Laura Bennett (Rob Bonin lab)
Rima El-Sayed (Karen Davis lab)
Sandra Poulson (Loren Martin lab)

Click HERE to view awardee bios/photos


UTCSP eNews Update - April 20th, 2022

Please click HERE for information on recent news, upcoming seminars/webinars, and pain-related activities.

2022/2023 UTCSP Pain Scientist Scholarship

Purpose of the Scholarship:

The UTCSP is committed to supporting the development of exceptional research trainees who will take future leadership roles in the field of pain science. The objective of this scholarship is to strengthen pain research and talent development through the provision of financial support for research training.
This scholarship is intended for pain science trainees who wish to pursue a career as a pain scientist, focusing on basic science research and/or clinical science research.
Application Deadline:

Applications are due Friday, June 4, 2022 without exception.

Please click HERE for full application details and forms.

Call for Manuscripts: Special Issue of the Canadian Journal of Pain

Submit a manuscript to the Canadian Journal of Pain for a special issue on:
The Future of Canadian Pain Research:  Highlighting Trainee Contributions

Deadline for submission:  July 31, 2022

Click HERE for complete details and instructions

Educational Opportunity for UTCSP Trainee Members

Pain Medicine Didactic Lecture Series

The UT Centre for the Study of Pain has partnered with the Pain Medicine Subspecialty Residency Program at the University of Toronto to offer UTCSP Trainee Members participation in their educational didactic seminar series as an opportunity to learn more about clinical pain management.
The lectures are hosted by the Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine on the first and third Thursday of every month from 4:00-6:00 PM (EST) via Zoom.  Participants are expected to read pre-lecture materials to maximize their learning and engage in group discussion. The lectures will cover fundamentals of pain assessment, pain management and clinical applications.

If you are interested in attending these lectures, please complete the UTCSP TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT and send them to Pilar Barrios at:  residency.painmedicine@utoronto.ca. Upon receipt, you will be forwarded with a list of lecture topics and Zoom information to attend the sessions.
If you have any questions, please contact Pilar at:  residency.painmedicine@utoronto.ca

Pain in the News

May 3, 2022

Systematic analysis of inflammation and pain pathways in a mouse model of gout

Molecular Pain, Volume 18, Issue , January-December 2022.
Gout is a prevalent and painful inflammatory arthritis, and its global burden continues to rise.
Apr 21, 2022

Offset analgesia is associated with opposing modulation of medial versus dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activations: A functional near-infrared spectroscopy study

Molecular Pain, Volume 18, Issue , January-December 2022.
Offset analgesia is defined by a dramatic drop in perceived pain intensity with a relatively small decrease in noxious input.
Apr 14, 2022

Magnitude of peripheral sensory neuropathy and associated factors among HIV/AIDS clients receiving care at public health institutions, Northwest Ethiopia

Molecular Pain, Volume 18, Issue , January-December 2022.
Background: In the mid-1990s, the development of combination antiretroviral therapy converted HIV infection into a chronic condition, with newly diagnosed patients now living longer than the general population.
Apr 13, 2022

Extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation enhancement and NaV1.7 sodium channel upregulation in rat dorsal root ganglia neurons contribute to resiniferatoxin-induced neuropathic pain: The efficacy and mechanism of pulsed radiofrequency therapy

Molecular Pain, Volume 18, Issue , January-December 2022.
Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) therapy is one of the most common treatment options for neuropathic pain, albeit the underlying mechanism has not been hitherto elucidated.
Apr 12, 2022

Mapping thalamic-anterior cingulate monosynaptic inputs in adult mice

Molecular Pain, Volume 18, Issue , January-December 2022.
The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is located in the frontal part of the cingulate cortex, and plays important roles in pain perception and emotion.
Apr 11, 2022

Spinal 5-HT2A receptor is involved in electroacupuncture inhibition of chronic pain

Molecular Pain, Volume 18, Issue , January-December 2022.
Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is a highly prevalent, chronic joint disorder, and it is a typical disease which can develop chronic pain.