Neurologische Klinik und Poliklinik
Josef-Schneider-Str. 11, 97080 Würzburg
Research foci (and basic equipment-based research projects):
The aim of this group is to study the pathophysiology of neuropathic pain. Treatment of neuropathic pain with conventional analgesics is often unsuccessful. We thus strive to recognize mechanisms that differentiate neuropathic and nociceptive pain. One focus of our research is the role of cytokines, i.e. tumor-necrosis-factor-alpha (TNF) and interleukins in neuropathic pain. Further molecules of interest are serotonin and NO-synthases. We use models of traumatic and medically induced neuropathies in small rodents. Pain related behavior is assessed using established testing paradigms, for the study of pathomechanisms we use morphology, protein chemistry, molecular biology and cell culture methods. The experimental part is complemented by studies in patients and volunteers, where pain descriptors are correlated with measurable parameters like biopsy results (nerve, skin), cytokine production in leukocytes and psychophysical measures.
In-vivo experiments with neutralizing antibodies and with drugs reducing cytokine production showed the importance of TNF and IL-1 in the initiation of hyperalgesia after nerve lesions.
We were able to identify target molecules responsible for different types of hyperalgesia using several strains of knock out mice. We could show a direct correlation between nerve regeneration and reduction of pain related behavior. The value of skin biopsies not only as a diagnostic tool but also as a means to study pathophysiology could be established. (see 'results' of the individual projects)
Rewards and prizes:
DFG: Projekt B14 SFB353, 1998-2000: 1 BAT IIa-position, operating expenses
Volkswagenstiftung I/73 833, 1998-2001: 1 BAT IIa-position, operating expenses
Sanderstiftung 2001.039.1, ab 10/2001: 1/2 BAT IIa-position, 1/2 BAT Vc-position, operating expenses
Industry cooperations: 3/2000-12/2001, DM 45.200