Of mice and men: Translational research in the Department of Anaesthesia, NUHS
Our department carries out basic science, translational and clinical research.
Our basic science work aims to contribute to better understanding of pain mechanisms and to identify new markers of pain and targets for pain treatment. We work on the identification and characterization of novel peptides and amino acids’ roles in pain. We focus on peptides in the <15,000 Dalton range. Our laboratory contributed substantially to current knowledge on nociceptin, the endogenous ligand for the orphan opioid receptor, nocistatin (an endogenous antagonist of nociceptin), and prepronociceptin, their common precursor peptide, and for D serine.
CSF reflects the metabolic state of the brain, and we work on liquid chromatography analysis CSF from patients with acute and chronic pain conditions, developing new methods for quantifying peptides and D-serine in CSF and serum. We test the effects of peptides in a range of memory, nociception and coordination tests in rodents. We work on characterization of their receptors using radioimmunoassay. We also develop antibodies to these peptides. Finally, we validate the roles of these peptides in rodent models of pain.
Some of our achievements:
New method to simultaneously analyze D- and L- serine in CSF with HPLC.
Identification of mature nocistatin and nociceptin in human tissue.
Characterization of peptide levels in rodent models of inflammatory, posttraumatic and diabetic neuropathic pain.
Hargreaves test of thermal hyperalgesia
Radial maze test of spatial memory and learning
Testing effects on spontaneous locomotion
Tail flick test of analgesia