Project Details


A progressive series of studies is proposed which will: 1) develop and
refine a new animal model of pain; 2) define specific guidelines for the
management of clinical pain in animals; and 3) provide a deeper
understanding of the role played by endogenous opioid systems (EOS) in
the modulation of pain in both animals and humans. In the initial
studies, the cortical evoked potential (CEP) associated with electrical
stimulation of the tooth pulp will be evaluated as a sensitive,
specific, and reliable indicator of pain and analgesia in laboratory
rats. Preliminary data from this laboratory strongly suggest that, as
in humans and other animals, the magnitude of the CEP in rats is
correlated with both stimulus intensity and pain perception. The value
of the rat CEP model will be explored in a study comparing the
efficacies of several analgesic drugs, most of which are already used in
the treatment of clinical pain. Then, during the final 2 year of the
award, the rat CEP model will be used to study the participation of EOS
in natural mechanisms of pain and analgesia. Initially,
radioimmunoassay techniques will be used to measure basal levels of
representative opioid peptides in rat plasma. Subsequent studies will
explore circumstantial and causal associations between experimental pain
and several opioid peptides. These data should also provide preliminary
indications as to which opioid receptor subtype(s) is (are) most
important in modulating pain. Over the course of this 5-year project,
the candidate will gain expertise and sharpen research skills necessary
to continue a career of independent research into the physiological and
biochemical basis of pain and analgesia. Her first research efforts in
this area resulted in a master of science degree and a published
evaluation of the analgesic efficacy of, and role of EOS in, the
immobility response in rabbits. The candidate's mentor has considerable
expertise in the scientific investigation of EOS, with numerous
publications and several ongoing grants in this area. Other
investigators with expertise in the fields of neurophysiology,
pharmacology, and pain have contributed to the collection of preliminary
data and will continue to function as consultants for this project. The
research will be carried out in a well-equipped laboratory with ready
access to support services and extensive medical and general libraries.Description
Effective start/end date10/1/7411/30/09


  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)

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