Temperature can trigger pain and alters sodium channel function

Sodium channels are essential for the function of peripheral sensory nerve fibers and mutations in these channels can result in chronic pain syndromes. Pain attacks are often triggered by temperature changes. In a close collaboration of the Institute of Neurophysiology headed by Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Angelika Lampert and the research group of Prof. Dr. med. Ralf Hausmann at the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology the temperature dependence of the function of different sodium channels, which play a crucial role in pain transmission, but also epilepsy and cardiac function, was investigated. For this purpose, an automated high-throughput electrophysiology system was used and the temperature effects were systematically studied for the first time between 15 and 35 °C with a high number of measurements. Modulation of sodium channel function as well as enhanced functioning of pain syndromes-associated sodium channel variants (due to genetic mutations) support the importance of temperature as a regulator of sodium channel function on cellular excitability as well as disease phenotypes. The work was published in the prestigious Journal of General Physiology and can be found at this link



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