S17  Genetic and environmental aspects in chronic pain

Daniela Mauceri (Heidelberg) and Heike Tost (Mannheim)

Live Discussion: Thursday, March 25, 2021, 18:00 - 19:00h

Nociception is an essential mechanism preserving human health and survival. Chronic pain, on the other hand, is a debilitating condition affecting a significant percentage of the worldwide population for which treatment is still limited. Pathological pain is the result of a series of maladaptive processes initiated and supported by a plethora of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The causal mechanisms of these negative adaptations are not yet understood and span from genetic and epigenetic alterations to altered plasticity of peripheral and central circuits to modifications of affective and cognitive brain functions. Understanding the mechanisms promoting the transition from normal to pathological pain offers the opportunity to identify novel therapeutic approaches. The goal of this symposium is to provide insights on the role of genes and the environment in acute and chronic pain in rodent models and in humans. Specifically, we will reflect on the development of chronic pain at different neuroscience observational levels, highlight how intrinsic and environmental factors shape maladaptive neural processes, and discuss the value of the presented research approaches for the development and assessment of novel analgesic treatment strategies.
Nurcan Üçeyler will discuss translational research on pain in conditions leading to small fiber pathology focusing on hereditary pain syndromes including Fabry disease. Daniela Mauceri will present data on the functional link between persistent inflammatory pain and epigenetic-mediated gene transcription in the spinal cord. Falk Eippert will discuss non-invasive imaging data of the human spinal cord in paradigms that investigate nociceptive processing in healthy volunteers with a special focus on cognitive factors. Heike Tost will present neuroimaging and daily-life ambulatory assessment data on the intrinsic and environmental determinants of maladaptive affective processing in chronic pain and major depressive disorder with a special emphasis on the development of novel behavioral therapeutic approaches. In addition, Jennifer John, a young scientist, will present her latest data.

S17-1 Nurcan Üçeyler, Würzburg, Germany
Small fiber pathology in genetic pain disorders – news from translational research

S17-2 Daniela Mauceri, Heidelberg, Germany
Epigenetic control of functional plasticity in inflammatory pain.

S17-3 Jennifer John, Heidelberg, Germany
Multimodal analysis of structural plasticity of the prefrontal cortex and changes in behaviour in a mouse model of chronic pain

S17-4 Falk Eippert, Leipzig, Germany
Cognitive pain modulation and the human spinal cord

S17-5 Heike Tost, Mannheim, Germany
Daily-life environmental, genetic and neural regulatory influences underlying bidirectional interactions between chronic pain and depression