Probing the cause of diabetes-related pain

Uncontrollable sensations (e.g., pain and tingling) are all-too-familiar sensations for most diabetics. Neuropathic pain (NP), in particular, is the most worrisome and occurs in more than half of people with diabetes. Increased age and duration of diabetes appear to be significant risk factors for developing NP. Though it often plagues the arms, legs, hands, and feet, NP can occur in any body part. Doctors have long struggled to understand the source of the pain, let alone treat it.

Now scientists at the School of Medicine and at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, in West Haven, have discovered a potentially novel source of NP in diabetes.

In the May 16 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, Andrew Tan, Ph.D., associate research scientist in neurology, and Stephen G. Waxman, M.D., Ph.D., the Bridget Marie Flaherty Professor of Neurology and professor of neurobiology and pharmacology, report that  that changes in the shape, density, and overall distribution of dendritic spines—signal-receiving structures that protrude from nerve cells—may underlie diabetic NP.

Treatment of diabetic rats with a drug that restored close-to-normal dendritic spine structure helped to reduce signs and symptoms of NP, findings that may provide new avenues for managing diabetic pain.


Other Advances


The FDA is slow? Not so fast!

Doctors and patients who are impatient for new drugs to hit the market often get the sense that the...

Read more...


Tight rein on glucose no boon in diabetes

Some researchers believe that aggressively controlling glucose levels in type 2 diabetes reduces...

Read more...


Tiny genomic change makes big difference

A hallmark of mammalian brains is the corticospinal system (CS), which, in humans, connects the...

Read more...