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Pharmakologisches Institut

Molecular mediators of pain resulting from visceral disorders

Several visceral disorders are accompanied by chronic pain. For example, acute and chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), pancreatic cancer as well as inflammatory diseases of the gut, such as colitis, are associated with excruciating pain. The molecular mechanisms underlying visceral pain of this kind can diverge considerably from mechanisms of somatic pain and are very poorly understood so far.


In recent and on-going projects, we are addressing the endogenous control of visceral pain exerted by excitatory and inhibitory modulators such as glutamate, cannabinoids etc. using mouse models for the above diseases. For example, we found that the endocannabinoid system is an important regulator of pain and the disease pathology of pancreatitis in mouse models as well as human patients. Moreover, we observed that therapeutically applied cannabinoids ameliorate pain and disease pathology ini pancreatitis. This work is carried out in close collaboration with clinical departments of the university.


Group members involved: Danguole Sauliunaite

Collaborations: Christoph Michalski and Helmut Friess (Dept. of Surgery, University of Heidelberg), Federico Massa and Beat Lutz (University of Mainz)