Friday, February 12, 2016

FKBP5 Befriends Chronic Pain

              Recently published in the United Kingdom’s Science Translational Medicine Journal, researchers suggested that a new protein blocking mechanism may be the key to treating chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as pain that begins over a twelve week period, and lasts for weeks to years. This condition is normally found in the lower back region, but in some cases it can affect the neck and face. Chronic pain is associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression which is caused by certain variations of a gene called FKBP5. Researchers pursue to gain better knowledge on how FKBP5 adds to chronic pain.

              During their research, genetically modified mice were altered to lack FKBP51, a variation of FKBP5, which plays a role in stress regulation. There were no negative side effects and mice were more mobile with normal pain responses. In the second half of the experiment, researchers blocked FKBP51 in the spinal cord with a protein gene called SAFit2. This protein is normally used to reduce anxiety by blocking brain activity, but by using SAFit2 to block FKBP1, mice showed that it significantly reduced chronic pain. Although this is a new study, researchers may have found the answer they were looking for to cure chronic pain.

               In my opinion, I believe this research has potential to solve chronic pain in humans. Even though this research is fairly new, SAFit2 has shown significant results in reducing chronic pain within mice spinal cords. Mice have been model icons for research and have lead many of diseases and conditions to multiple cures. The only disadvantage to using mice for chronic pain research is that the gene that regulates stress in humans is different than the gene that regulates mice stress. Although the variation of FKBP1 can be blocked by SAFit2 , the P5 variation may require different proteins to block it in humans. Researchers have definitely moved closer to solving the mystery of chronic pain, but without developing a drug that can be used within humans, researchers will find them further exploring this unusual condition.


  1. This is an awesome finding which will definitely help many people. Although this study was new, and nothing is set in stone, this finding has the potential to change the lives of so many individuals. It is amazing that science can figure out exactly what gene is causing the pain, and how to block it with a specific protein. If this study is further explored, Advil and Tylenol could potentially go out of business!! People may even need less surgeries in hopes to cure their aches and pains. This is definitely a clinically significant study, and has the potential to enhance mobility and comfort levels of many people. Great post!

  2. When I first read this I was a little concerned about the affect of this treatment on the normal pain response, but after reading in the original article that it does not affect the normal pain response, I think that if they can achieve the same thing in humans it will be of great benefit to people with chronic pain.

  3. This is a great discovery about the potential treatment of chronic pain and how it can benefical for many people. Research does show results that, blocking the FKBP5 gene may prevent chronic pain and stress. Which can resolve the unknown mystery about chronic pain and potentially develop a better drug that can be useful for everyone.

  4. This is such an interesting discovery. I know that you said that the gene that regulates stress in humans is different in mice. Why do you think they would use mice as an example if they know the gene is different? I just hope researchers will move further with this but it definitely has potential to help many people!