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Research highlights from the literature

Item Type:Article
Title:Research highlights from the literature
Creators Name:Jordan, J.
Abstract:Recent studies suggest that genetic variation of the catecholamine metabolizing enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) influences pain responsiveness in human subjects. Surprisingly, some genetic COMT variations do not change the amino acid sequence. Instead, the secondary messenger RNA is altered such that more or less protein is produced. Animal studies by the same group showed that pharmacological COMT inhibition increases pain responsiveness through beta-2 and beta-3 adrenoreceptor stimulation. Another publication sheds new light on the predictive value of autonomic testing in young patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Cardiovascular autonomic reflex testing did not predict occurrence of early nephropathy, retinopathy, or hypoglycemia unawareness over a twelve years period. Yet, impaired autonomic pupillary function was associated with a markedly increased risk for both nephropathy and retinopathy. The study might suggest that autonomic neuropathy precedes microvascular disease. Finally, another study investigated neural circuits contributing to central command responses that occur with arousal and physical exercise. Cholinergic projections from the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus appear to activate muscarinic cholinergic receptors on rostral ventrolateral medulla neurons. Sympathetic activation then ensues.
Keywords:Catechol-o-methyltransferase, COMT, Diabetes mellitus, Diabetic neuropathy, Central command, Pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus, Rostral ventrolateral medulla
Source:Clinical Autonomic Research
Page Range:2-4
Date:February 2007
Official Publication:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10286-007-0398-z
PubMed:View item in PubMed

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