Some interesting findings coming out of China regarding pain signalling. While these experiments were done in mice and rats, the human nervous system is similar enough that the scientists expect a similar system to be in operation in humans but needs to be proved. The upshot is that both GABA and ion channel gates seem to be involved in pain signal regulation in the peripheral nervous system: i.e. the intensity of pain is regulated locally in the body rather than in the brain. If this proves to be true, the authors claim that an entirely different class of pain drugs could be developed that help relieve pain locally rather than using opiates and the like that affect the brain. I somewhat have my doubts about this last blanket statement since both GABA and ion channels exist in the brain as well as in the peripheral nervous system so a drug that affects one will probably affect the other unless they make it so that it can't cross the blood brain barrier. Anyhow, greater minds than mine are working on this and it is exciting for CRPS, fibro, CFS/ME and any other chronic pain patient.
"After spending five years studying ganglia cells taken from mice and rats in the lab, they found that they could actually exchange information with each other with the help of the signalling molecule GABA - an ability that was previously believed to be restricted to the central nervous system.
More than that, when the researchers stimulated pain signals in rats, they found evidence through this GABA pathway that the ganglia cells were communicating with each other, and regulating and changing the signal they sent on to the central nervous system."