Pain research

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The major research topics in our Department are translational research on mechanisms and therapeutic approaches in acute and chronic pain with a focus on the opioid system, as well as emergency medicine, educational research, and the history of Anesthesiology. Our approaches include mathematical modeling, preclinical experiments, and clinical studies. Our laboratory features molecular, biochemical, cellular, electrophysiological, and behavioral methods. Clinical studies are performed in our pain clinic, perioperative setting, and intensive care unit. We are funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and European Union. We mentor Bachelor, Masters, PhD, and MD students.

From Stein C and Lang LJ. Curr Opin Pharmacol 2009,9(1):3-8.

Opioid peptide-containing circulating leukocytes extravasate upon activation of adhesion molecules (e.g., ICAM-1; beta2 integrin). Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), chemokines or noradrenaline (NA, released from sympathetic neurons) can elicit opioid release by activating their respective receptors (CRF receptors, CRFR; adrenergic receptors, AR) on leukocytes. Exogenous opioids (EO) or endogenous opioid peptides (OP, green triangles) bind to opioid receptors (OR) that are synthesized in dorsal root ganglia and transported along intraaxonal microtubules to peripheral (and central) terminals of sensory neurons. The subsequent inhibition of excitatory ion channels (e.g., TRPV1, Ca2+) and of substance P (sP) release results in pain inhibition.