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Microneedles-based drug delivery strategies: A breakthrough approach for the management of pain.

Pain is a personalized event or body alarm system that can limit a patient's activities and lead to negative repercussions. The commercially available conventional treatment strategies like oral, parenteral, and topical drug delivery systems for pain management are associated with side effects and poor patient compliance. The transdermal route is eminent for its painless distribution. Among transdermal drug delivery system, microneedles (MNs) are gaining attention for their application with delivery at the deeper dermal layer because it bypasses the major barrier of the skin, easily accesses the skin dermal microcirculation, prevents damage to dermal blood vessels, and can be simply inserted into the skin without utilizing any additional applicator devices. Hence, considered a promising drug delivery strategy with high patient compliance. This review highlights the recent advancements of MNs in pain management. The present work mainly emphasizes all the case studies reported from the past 10 years that utilize MNs containing therapeutics in the treatment of chronic pain-associated diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, neuropathic pain, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and atopic dermatitis. These studies have proven the efficacious application of MNs in the management of chronic pain and inflammation. The review also covered the clinical trials, patents, and future goals of pain management by using MNs.

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Transgenic Mice for the Translational Study of Neuropathic Pain and Dystonia.

Murine models are fundamental in the study of clinical conditions and the development of new drugs and treatments. Transgenic technology has started to offer advantages in oncology, encompassing all research fields related to the study of painful syndromes. Knockout mice or mice overexpressing genes encoding for proteins linked to pain development and maintenance can be produced and pain models can be applied to transgenic mice to model the most disabling neurological conditions. Due to the association of movement disorders with sensitivity and pain processing, our group focused for the first time on the role of the torsinA gene GAG deletion-responsible for DYT1 dystonia-in baseline sensitivity and neuropathic responses. The aim of the present report are to review the complex network that exists between the chaperonine-like protein torsinA and the baseline sensitivity pattern-which are fundamental in neuropathic pain-and to point at its possible role in neurodegenerative diseases.

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To calibrate or not to calibrate? A methodological dilemma in experimental pain research.

To calibrate or not to calibrate? This question is raised by almost everyone designing an experimental pain study with supra-threshold stimulation. The dilemma is whether to individualize stimulus intensity to the pain threshold / supra-threshold pain level of each participant or whether to provide the noxious stimulus at a fixed intensity so that everyone receives the identical input. Each approach has unique pros and cons which need to be considered to i) accurately design an experiment, ii) enhance statistical inference in the given data and, iii) reduce bias and the influence of confounding factors in the individual study e.g., body composition, differences in energy absorption and previous experience. Individualization requires calibration, a procedure already irritating the pain system but allowing to match the pain level across individuals. It leads to a higher variability of the stimulus intensity, thereby influencing the encoding of "noxiousness" reaching the central nervous system. Results might be less influenced by statistical phenomena such as ceiling/floor effects and the approach does not seem to rise ethical concerns. On the other hand, applying a fixed (standardized) intensity reduces the problem of intensity encoding leading to a large between-subjects variability in pain responses. Fixed stimulation intensities do not require pre-exposure. It can be proposed that one method is not preferable over another, however the choice depends on the study aim and the desired level of external validity. This paper discusses considerations for choosing the best approach for experimental pain studies and provides recommendations for different study designs.

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Protocols for measuring cold-evoked neural activity and cold tolerance in Drosophila larvae following fictive cold acclimation.

Here, we outline protocols to study cold acclimation in Drosophila from a neurobiological perspective, starting with fictive cold acclimation using a custom-built optogenetics-housing apparatus we call the OptoBox. We also provide detailed steps for single-unit electrophysiological recordings from larval cold nociceptors and a high-throughput cold-tolerance assay. These protocols expand the toolkit for the study of insect cold acclimation and nociception. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Himmel et al. (2021).

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Experimental Protocols and Analytical Procedures for Studying Synaptic Transmission in Rodent Spinal Cord Dorsal Horn.

Synaptic modulation and plasticity are key mechanisms underlying pain transmission in the spinal cord and supra-spinal centers. The study and understanding of these phenomena are fundamental to investigating both acute nociception and maladaptive changes occurring in chronic pain. This article describes experimental protocols and analytical methods utilized in electrophysiological studies to investigate synaptic modulation and plasticity at the first station of somatosensory processing, the spinal cord dorsal horn. Protocols useful for characterizing the nature of synaptic inputs, the site of modulation (pre- versus postsynaptic), and the presence of short-term synaptic plasticity are presented. These methods can be employed to study the physiology of acute nociception, the pathological mechanisms of persistent inflammatory and neuropathic pain, and the pharmacology of receptors and channels involved in pain transmission. © 2022 Wiley Periodicals LLC. Basic Protocol 1: Spinal cord dissection and acute slice preparation Basic Protocol 2: Stimulation of the dorsal root and extracellular recording (compound action potentials and field potentials) Basic Protocol 3: Patch-clamp recording from dorsal horn neurons: action potential firing patterns and evoked synaptic inputs Basic Protocol 4: Analysis of parameters responsible for changes in synaptic efficacy Basic Protocol 5: Recording and analysis of currents mediated by astrocytic glutamate.

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Acute and Chronic Pain Preclinical Models to Study the Analgesic Properties of Melatonergic Compounds.

Melatonin (MLT) has been implicated in several pathophysiological states, including pain. MLT mostly activates two G protein-coupled receptors, MT and MT. MLT displays analgesic properties in several animal paradigms of acute, inflammatory, and neuropathic pain. Although the analgesic mechanism of action of MLT is not yet completely elucidated, there is strong preclinical evidence suggesting the pharmacological potential of melatonergic compounds for treating pain. Importantly, MLT and melatonergic compounds seem to have a favorable toxicological profile than currently approved analgesic drugs. These compounds may thus deserve to be further developed as novel analgesic drugs, but this process relies on the use of appropriate and standardized experimental procedures. Therefore, in this chapter, we present the methodology to study the analgesic properties of MLT and melatonergic drugs in a preclinical model of chronic and acute pain. In addition to technical details of the surgical technique, details of anesthesia and perioperative care are also included.

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TRPV3 expression and purification for structure determination by Cryo-EM.

The transient receptor potential vanilloid-superfamily member 3 (TRPV3) channel is implicated in a variety of physiological processes, including temperature sensing, nociception and itch, maintenance of the skin barrier, wound healing, hair growth, and embryonic development. TRPV3 is also associated with various skin diseases, including Olmsted syndrome, atopic dermatitis, and rosacea. Studies of TRPV3 are of fundamental importance for structural pharmacology aimed at the design of drugs targeting this channel and for understanding the molecular basis of temperature sensing. Here we describe a detailed protocol for expression and purification of chemically pure and stable TRPV3 protein that is suitable for structural and functional characterization of this channel, in particular for cryo-EM sample preparation and high-resolution 3D reconstruction.

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Real-Time Quantitative Reverse Transcription PCR for Detection of Opioid Receptors in Immune Cells.

Real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR ) is a highly sensitive molecular biology method based on the amplification of the cDNA of mRNA to detect and quantify the levels of mRNA of interest. In this chapter, we describe real-time qRT-PCR to detect and quantify mRNA of opioid receptors in immune cells. Specifically, we analyze mouse immune cells isolated from the blood and sciatic nerves exposed to a chronic constriction injury, which represents a model of neuropathic pain. We describe in detail the requirements and techniques to induce the chronic constriction injury, to isolate immune cells from the blood and injured nerves, to isolate the total RNA from immune cells, to perform a cDNA reverse transcription from the total RNA, and to perform real-time qRT-PCR for μ-, δ-, and κ-opioid receptor mRNAs.

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Human mini-brain models.

Engineered human mini-brains, made possible by knowledge from the convergence of precision microengineering and cell biology, permit systematic studies of complex neurological processes and of pathogenesis beyond what can be done with animal models. By culturing human brain cells with physiological microenvironmental cues, human mini-brain models reconstitute the arrangement of structural tissues and some of the complex biological functions of the human brain. In this Review, we highlight the most significant developments that have led to microphysiological human mini-brain models. We introduce the history of mini-brain development, review methods for creating mini-brain models in static conditions, and discuss relevant state-of-the-art dynamic cell-culture systems. We also review human mini-brain models that reconstruct aspects of major neurological disorders under static or dynamic conditions. Engineered human mini-brains will contribute to advancing the study of the physiology and aetiology of neurological disorders, and to the development of personalized medicines for them.

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Recent advances in neurotechnologies with broad potential for neuroscience research.

Interest in deciphering the fundamental mechanisms and processes of the human mind represents a central driving force in modern neuroscience research. Activities in support of this goal rely on advanced methodologies and engineering systems that are capable of interrogating and stimulating neural pathways, from single cells in small networks to interconnections that span the entire brain. Recent research establishes the foundations for a broad range of creative neurotechnologies that enable unique modes of operation in this context. This review focuses on those systems with proven utility in animal model studies and with levels of technical maturity that suggest a potential for broad deployment to the neuroscience community in the relatively near future. We include a brief summary of existing and emerging neuroscience techniques, as background for a primary focus on device technologies that address associated opportunities in electrical, optical and microfluidic neural interfaces, some with multimodal capabilities. Examples of the use of these technologies in recent neuroscience studies illustrate their practical value. The vibrancy of the engineering science associated with these platforms, the interdisciplinary nature of this field of research and its relevance to grand challenges in the treatment of neurological disorders motivate continued growth of this area of study.

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