Discovery 'holds key to better pain relief'
NEWLY discovered cells in the spinal cord have been found to play a role in pain. The cells, called astrocytes, were previously thought to play a number of roles, including producing antioxidants to help other cells in the nervous system.
But using mouse studies, scientists from Kyushu University in Japan have found that when these astrocytes in the spinal cord are activated, they trigger pain sensations. Previously, pain was thought to result from signals sent by cells called neurons.
Writing in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the scientists suggest the discovery could lead to better pain medication.
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