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.
Sep 15, 2021

Sex Specific Subgenual Anterior Cingulate Cortex Abnormalities in Chronic Pain Conditions Prevalent in the Opposite Sex

The subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) is known for its importance within the descending pain modulation (DPM) pathway, through its interconnectivity with other key parts of the DPM pathway and role in endogenous opioidergic pain inhibition. Previous work using fMRI and MEG in the Davis Lab has shown abnormalities within the sgACC across different chronic pain conditions. More specifically, it has been demonstrated that the sgACC has abnormal functional connectivity (FC) in women but not men, in a male prevalent chronic pain condition (Ankylosing Spondylitis). Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a neuropathic pain condition characterized by pain, numbness and tingling in the hands, due to damage caused by compression of the median nerve of the wrist. To complement their work observing sgACC FC in a male dominant chronic pain condition, the aim of this study was to characterize sgACC activity in CTS, which is a female prevalent chronic pain condition. The goal was to observe whether abnormal sgACC FC is characteristic of women with chronic pain or found in individuals that have a chronic pain condition that is more prevalent in the opposite sex.
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
Aug 18, 2021

Pain relief from trigeminal neuralgia reverses hippocampal abnormalities

Memory and concentration difficulties are some of the frequently reported difficulties that chronic pain patients face. Recent evidence points to the hippocampus as the affected region in chronic pain that may result in these symptoms, as the hippocampus is involved in memory consolidation, behaviour regulation, and stress modulation.
Jul 12, 2021

The role of rostral ventromedial medulla ON and OFF cells in nociceptive behaviour in multiple body regions

The rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) is known to play a role in the endogenous modulation of nociceptive transmission in the central nervous system (CNS), within both spinal cord and trigeminal nociceptive pathways. It is thought that descending controls that are exerted by the RVM have a modulatory effect on pain sensations. In rats, neurons in the RVM have been classified as ON-cells, OFF-cells or NEUTRAL cells based on whether they elicit a tail flick response, with ON cells facilitating and OFF-cells inhibiting this nociceptive response. There has been evidence that has also shown that ON and OFF cell activity facilitate the activity of spinal dorsal horn (SDH) and medullary dorsal horn (MDH) neurons, and thereby underlie a potential important role of the RVM in endogenous pain control. However, the contribution and neural activity patterns of ON and OFF cells in relation to craniofacial nociceptive behaviours has not been explored in-depth.  In this study, UTCSP scientists Dr. Barry Sessle, Dr. Jonathon Dostrovsky and colleagues aimed to uncover whether RVM neuronal activity is related to noxious heat-induced craniofacial nociceptive behaviour, specifically jaw motor response, and compare it to other regions such as the tail.


UTCSP eNews Update - December 13, 2021

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

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

Queen Elizabeth II/Study of Pain Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST)

Applications for the Temerty Faculty of Medicine QEII-GSST is now available.  The QEII-GSST program is designed to encourage excellence in graduate studies in science and technology.
Application Deadline:  April 8, 2022
Click HERE for complete competition details

Pain in the News

Dec 17, 2021

Inhibiting spinal secretory phospholipase A2 after painful nerve root injury attenuates established pain and spinal neuronal hyperexcitability by altering spinal glutamatergic signaling

Molecular Pain, Volume 17, Issue , January-December 2021.
Neuropathic injury is accompanied by chronic inflammation contributing to the onset and maintenance of pain after an initial insult.
Dec 14, 2021

Tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors but not anticonvulsants ameliorate pain, anxiety, and depression symptoms in an animal model of central post-stroke pain

Molecular Pain, Volume 17, Issue , January-December 2021.
BackgroundCentral post-stroke pain (CPSP) is a type of neuropathic pain caused by dysfunction in the spinothalamocortical pathway.
Dec 14, 2021

Molecular pain and the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Molecular Pain, Volume 17, Issue , January-December 2021.
Dec 13, 2021

Heparan sulfate 3-O-sulfotransferase 4 is genetically associated with herpes zoster and enhances varicella-zoster virus–mediated fusogenic activity

Molecular Pain, Volume 17, Issue , January-December 2021.
Acute pain that is associated with herpes zoster (HZ) can become long-lasting neuropathic pain, known as chronic post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), especially in the elderly.
Dec 13, 2021

Endothelin receptor type A is involved in the development of oxaliplatin-induced mechanical allodynia and cold allodynia acting through spinal and peripheral mechanisms in rats

Molecular Pain, Volume 17, Issue , January-December 2021.
Oxaliplatin, a platinum-based chemotherapeutic agent, frequently causes severe neuropathic pain typically encompassing cold allodynia and long-lasting mechanical allodynia.