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RESEARCH INTERESTS

CLINICAL RESEARCH

1. Pharmacological and interventional management of neuropathic pain (e.g., complex regional pain syndrome, postherpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, spinal stenosis, low back pain with radiculopathy, and chemotherapy-related neuropathy) 
2. Pharmacological and interventional management of inflammatory and nociceptive pain (e.g., osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, myofascial pain, axial lower back with facet joint disease, fibromyalgia) 
3. Opioid-induced hyperalgesia: clinical diagnosis and management
4. Quantitative sensory testing in clinical research and practice
5. Depression and chronic pain; chronic pain and opioid addiction
6. Alternative medicine such as acupuncture and clinical pain management

RESEARCH TOOLS

Besides conventional clinical pain research tools including questionnaires, functional assessment tools, depression inventories, the Center is equipped to perform quantitative sensory testing, intravenous drug infusion (such as intravenous ketamine or lidocaine test), and other pain management procedures.  

ected peer-reviewed publications (from over 130 publications)
Mao J, Mayer DJ, Price DD. Patterns of increased brain activity indicative of pain in a rat model of peripheral mononeuropathy. J Neurosci 1993; 13:2689-2702.

 

PRECLINICAL RESEARCH

1. Neural and molecular mechanisms of neuropathic pain, opioid tolerance and dependence, opioid addiction, and opioid-induced hyperalgesia
2. Interactions between the cellular mechanisms of neuropathic pain and opioid tolerance
3. Role of endogenous cannabinoids in the modulation of neuropathic pain
4. Role of central glucocorticoid receptors in the neural and molecular mechanisms of pain and opioid tolerance
5. Peripheral and central mechanisms of burn injury-induced pain and radicular low back pain
6. Role of pain-related comorbidities in chronic pain conditions

RESEARCH TOOLS

The laboratory employs a variety of neuroscience research tools, including behavioral and pharmacological tools, autoradiography, ELISA, HPLC, patch

 

 

 

 

Selected Bibliography

Selected peer-reviewed publications (from over 130 publications)
Mao J, Mayer DJ, Price DD. Patterns of increased brain activity indicative of pain in a rat model of peripheral mononeuropathy. J Neurosci 1993; 13:2689-2702.

Mao J, Price DD, Mayer DJ. Thermal hyperalgesia in association with the development of morphine tolerance: roles of excitatory amino acid receptors and protein kinase C. Journal of Neurosci 1994; 14:2301-2312.

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

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

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

Ballantyne J, Mao J. Opioid therapy for chronic pain. New England Journal of Medicine 2003; 349:1943-1953.

Wang S, Lim G, Zeng Q, Yang L, Sung B, Mao J. Expression of spinal glucocorticoid receptors following peripheral nerve injury contributes to neuropathic pain behaviors in rats. Journal of Neurosci 2004; 24:8595-8605.

Wang S, Lim G, Zeng Q, Yang L, Sung B, Mao J. Central glucocorticoid receptors modulate the expression and function of spinal NMDA receptors after peripheral nerve injury. Journal of Neurosci 2005; 25:488-495.

Lim G, Wang S, Zeng Q, Sung B, Yang L, Mao J. Expression of spinal NMDA receptor and PKCg after chronic morphine is regulated by spinal glucocorticoid receptor. Journal of Neurosci 2005; 25:11145-11154.

Yang L, Wang S, Sung B, Lim G, Mao J. Morphine induces ubiquitin-proteasome activity and glutamate transporter degradation. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2008; 283:21703-21713.

Lim G, Wang S, Zhang Y, Tian YH, Mao J. Spinal leptin contributes to the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain. Journal of Clinical Investigation 2009; 119:295-304.

Tian Y, Wang S, Ma Y, Lim G, Kim H, Mao J. Leptin enhances NMDA-induced spinal excitation in rats: a functional link between adipocytokine and neuropathic pain. Pain, 2011, 152:1263-1271.

Kim H, Chen L, Lim G, Sung B, Wang S, McCabe MF, Rusanescu G, Yang L, Tian Y, Mao J. Brain indoleamine 2, 3 dioxygenase contributes to the comorbidity of pain and depression. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2012, 122:2940-2954.

Wang S, Tian Y, Song L, Lim G, Tan Y, Chen L, Mao J. Exacerbated mechanical hyperalgesia in rats with genetically predisposed depressive behavior: role of melatonin and NMDA receptors. Pain, 2012, Sept 28 [ePub ahead of print]

Mao J. Current challenges in translational pain research. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2012 Nov;33(11):568-73. doi: 10.1016/j.tips.2012.08.001. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

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