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American Society for Action on Pain

UI - 000168

AU - Sagen J

TI - Chromaffin cell transplants for alleviation of chronic pain

AB - Treatment of intractable pain with parenteral, subarachnoid, or epidural narcotics is often

unsatisfactory due to tolerance and other systemic complications that accompany increasing dosages of these

drugs. Other disadvantages include the potential infections with implantable pumps and the inconvenience of

repeated narcotic administration. During the past several years, studies at the author's laboratory indicated

that transplantation of adrenal medullary tissue or isolated chromaffin cells into the spinal subarachnoid

space can significantly reduce pain in several rodent models without resulting in development of tolerance.

Adrenal medullary chromaffin cells were selected because they produce high levels of both opioid peptides

and catecholamines, agents that independently, and possibly synergistically, reduce pain when injected locally

into the spinal subarachnoid space. The adrenal medullary transplants survive for prolonged periods, and

continue to produce high levels of both catecholamines and met-enkephalin. These transplants reduce pain in

two rodent chronic pain models, an arthritis model and a peripheral neuropathy model, both of which closely

resemble human chronic pain syndromes. The success of the animal studies has led to initiation of human

clinical trials in patients with chronic cancer pain; results are promising.

SO - ASAIO Journal 1992;38:24-2