1. Studies on the mechanisms of the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain
Neuropathic pain is often a consequence of nerve injury through surgery,bone compression, diabetes or infection. This type of pain can be so severe that even light touching can be intensely painful; unfortunately, this state is generally resistant to currently available treatments. Recently, we found that the expression of P2X4 receptors in the spinal cord is enhanced in activated spinal microglia after peripheral nerve injury, and blocking pharmacologically and suppressing molecularly P2X4 receptors produce a reduction of the neuropathic pain. Understanding the key roles of ATP receptors including P2X4 receptors may lead to new strategies for the management of neuropathic pain.
2. The function of microglial motility
Activated microglia show motilities including chemotaxis and phagocytosis after the stimulation of ATP receptors (P2Y6 and P2Y12). We study the mechanism of these motilities of microglia.