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Anthony Dickenson

Department of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology

Synaptic plasticity in spinal cord

Pain is a sensory and emotional event and we are interested in the neural bases for sensory transmission from peripheral nerves through the spinal cord to the brain. Our research uses mostly in vivo electrophysiological techniques allied with genetic and molecular approaches to study the physiology and pharmacology of pain transmission and its modulation. We are particularly interested in rapid plasticity in excitatory and inhibitory systems in the spinal cord and brain in different animal models of clinical pain states. We aim to identify targets for analgesics and through several clinical links to improve the treatment of pain.


The Pharmacology of Pain Transmission and Modulation

There are a number of possible projects in this area. The study of how excitatory and inhibitory systems act to control spinal cord events, the spinal pharmacology of the consequences of nerve damage, the roles of sodium and calcium channels in spinal signalling and what the brain tells the spinal cord are examples of current research in the laboratory.


Rygh LJ, Suzuki R, Rahman W, Wong Y, Vonsy JL, Sandhu H, Webber M, Hunt S and Dickenson AH. (2006)
Local and descending circuits regulate long term potentiation and zif268 expression in spinal neurons.
Eur J Neurosci 24: 761-772

Nassar MA, Stirling LC, Forlani G, Baker MD, Matthews EA, Dickenson AH, Wood JN. (2004)
Nociceptor-specific gene deletion reveals a major role for Nav1.7 (PN1) in acute and inflammatory pain.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.;101:12706-11

R Suzuki S Morcuende, M Webber, SP. Hunt and Anthony H. Dickenson (2002)
Superficial NK1 expressing neurons control spinal excitability through activation of descending pathways
Nature Neuroscience 5: 1319-1326


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