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Papers of the Week

Papers: 10 Dec 2022 - 16 Dec 2022

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2022 Dec 15

J Clin Invest



Opioid-induced hyperalgesia: Are thalamic T-type calcium channels treatment targets?



Opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH) is a state of paradoxically enhanced pain transmission, termed nociceptive sensitization, described to occur in both humans and animals after repeated administration of opioid drugs, including rapidly acting remifentanil. However, molecular mechanisms of OIH remain understudied. In this issue of the JCI, Yan Jin and colleagues provided strong evidence that hyperexcitable thalamocortical networks drive remifentanil-induced hyperalgesia in a rodent model of postsurgical pain. Furthermore, the authors specifically identified an important role of the CaV3.1 isoform of low-voltage-activated or T-type calcium channels (T-channels) in this process. Further experiments are needed to determine whether thalamic T channels could serve as targets for the treatment of OIH.