ĄDysregulations of emotional behaviours and its impact on chronic wide-spread pain: The endocannabinoid system as a therapeutic target"

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Beat Lutz  

Summary:

Human and animal studies indicate that chronic pain may lead to increased anxiety and depression-like behaviors. In reverse, in this proposal, we aim at substantiating the hypothesis of a strong relation between anxiety disorders, such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with the emergence of increased pain sensitivity, and a transition from local to chronic widespread pain. Mouse models of depression and chronic stress/PTSD will be employed. Subsequently, a battery of assays will monitor basal pain perception. Then, models of chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain will be induced. Pressure pain threshold will be finally determined. During different phases in this experiment, we will modulate the activity of the endocannabinoid system pharmacologically or genetically, aiming at understanding the emergence of chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain. We expect an involvement of the endocannabinoid system in the interaction between emotional dysregulation and the establishment of chronic widespread pain. We hope to establish therapeutic strategies by modulating the activity of the endocannabinoid system and characterizing diagnostic plasma lipid biomarkers (in particular endocannabinoids and related lipid signaling molecules) for different human patient groups.