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Jianren Mao, MD, Ph.D.
Neuroscience Center at Massachusetts General Hospital

Massachusetts General Hospital – East
Building 149
13th Street
Charlestown, MA 02129

Telephone: 617-726-2338

Research program:

Our research group focuses on studying the neural and molecular mechanisms of pain and opioid tolerance. We are particularly interested in investigating the interaction between pathological pain and paradoxical pain sensitivity resulting from opioid administration. The group also has access to patients with acute and chronic pain on opioid therapy and actively involves in translational pain research in these areas.

The techniques used in the group include behavioral and pharmacological assessment, immunohistochemistry, autoradiographic receptor binding and amino acid reuptake assay, HPLC assay, cell culture, conventional molecular biology techniques, and ELISA.

The following is a list of ongoing projects in the group:
1. Neuronal apoptosis induced by chronic opioid administration;
2. Intracellular mechanisms underlying opioid-induced neuronal apoptosis;
3. Role of central cannabinoid receptors in the cellular mechanisms of neuropathic pain     and their signal transduction pathways;
4. Role of the central glutamatergic system in the cellular mechanisms of neuropathic pain     and its interaction with the central cannabinoid system;
5. Opioid-induced abnormal pain sensitivity and its cellular mechanisms;
6. Translational pain research with an emphasis on neuropathic pain and opioid     tolerance;

Click here to access a full PubMed search on Dr. Mao

Mao J, Sung B, Ji RR, Lim G. Neuronal apoptosis associated with morphine tolerance: evidence for an opioid-induced neurotoxic mechanism, J Neurosci, 2002; 22: 7650-7661.

Mao J, Sung B, Ji RR, Lim G. Chronic morphine induces down-regulation of spinal glutamate transporters: implications in morphine tolerance and abnormal pain sensitivity, J Neurosci, 2002; 22:8312-8323.

Sung B, Lim G, Mao J: Altered expression and uptake activity of spinal glutamate transporters following peripheral nerve injury contributes to the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain in rats. 2003, J Neurosci, 23;2899-2910.

Lim G, Sung B, Ji RR, Mao J: Upregulation of spinal cannabinoid-1-receptors following peripheral nerve injury enhances the effects of Win 55,212-2 on neuropathic pain behaviors in rats. 2003; Pain, 105:275-283.

Ballantyne J, Mao J. Opioid therapy for chronic pain. New Eng J Med, 2003; 349:1943-1953.

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