In Sweden, a team of researchers made a discovery that could clarify how we feel pain. The team suggests that Schwann cells, a type of glia cells, play a major role in our sense of mechanical pain.
We assume that we now know all parts of our body and that a new organ can no longer be found, but a team in Sweden has announced that they have discovered a complex network of cells that allows us to feel certain types of pain. Finding can bring to light important points about how we feel and relieve pain.
It is thought that we perceive the sensations that normally occur on our skin with sensitive points of certain nerve cells. As with other species, these nerve cells are not covered by a protective myelin layer. Nerve cells are bound to cells called "glia" and are kept alive by them. Schwann cells are the largest type of glia cells located outside the central nervous system.
The researchers who published the study published their studies in Science magazine on Thursday. Researchers have discovered that Schwann cells interact with their nerve cells differently than other cells. They observed that some of these Schwann cells networked with neural cells. Researchers who experiment on mice after this observation, Schwann cells play an important role in the perception of pain, he said.
For example, in one experiment, light-sensitive Schwann cells were introduced into the paws of mice. When the light was on, the mice began to pretend to be in pain and to protect their paws. Further experiments have shown that these cells react to mechanical pain caused by shearing or impact rather than cold or warm sensations.
Where does the new organ come from?
Because Schwann cells are complexly linked to the system throughout the skin, researchers advocate the identification of this network as an organ. Patrik Ernfors of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden states: “It reveals that sensitivity to unworked pain occurs not only with nerves in the skin, but also with the newly discovered pain-sensitive organ."
Ernfors and his team are not the first to say that they have recently discovered a new organ. Last year, researchers in the United States, the so-called interstitium, under the skin and surrounding other internal organs, filled with a network of fluid should be considered as an organ argued.
As with many things in science, more work is needed to examine these cells and how they work. Mice, for example, are priceless models for studying the origin of pain in humans, but we don't know anything about how these cells actually work in the human body. All of the experiments in the study involved mice only. Therefore, this system may or may not be present in humans. In a statement to Gizmodo, Enforns says:
"We haven't studied people yet. However, given that all sensory organs in mice are present in humans, it is possible that this organ is present in human skin."
Although it is not known whether this organ is present in our body or not, any potential clue is worth considering considering how difficult it is to prevent chronic pain.
"Mechanical allodynia (allodynia: experiencing pain from non-painful mechanical stimuli, such as wearing a T-shirt) is often associated with neuropathy. The factors that cause mechanical allodynia are still unknown. These cells (Schwann cells) may also be associated with mechanical allodynia as they are important in sensing mechanical pain."
The team will then examine how these cells became active with pain. This study also includes the discovery of proteins on the surfaces of cells that cause mechanical stimulation. The team also wants to take part in studies of animal models used in the treatment of chronic pain.