How to erase memory traces of pain and fear.
Memory traces of pain are often referred to as the neuronal mechanisms that contribute to lasting pain (not to confuse with the memory of painful experiences). Pain and fear both have a strong impact on behaviour and it is suggested that they share overlapping mechanisms.
This review discusses recent findings that suggests that memory traces of pain and fear can be erased by eliminating one of the neuronal causes.
- Memory is described as ‘the retention of information that modifies future behavioural and/or neuronal responses’. Long term plasticity (LTP) in the CNS is a important feature to store information.
- Memory formation requires a induction, consolidation and maintenance phase.
- Interference with the cellular mechanisms that are required for these processes may disrupt the formation of (long term) memory traces.
- Some drugs and purely behavioural strategies appear to reverse LTP and/or erase memories. However, they might affect normal adaptive behaviour as well.
- Most pharmacotherapies are derived from animal models of acute pain, thus it is unsurprising that they are largely ineffective in chronic pain.
- Reversal of the long lasting plasticity seen in chronic pain and anxiety is a important therapeutic goal and new research is emerging. > From: Sandkühler et al., Trends Neurosci 36 (2013) 343-352. All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd.
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