In the world of science, not every day a discovery happens,able to really surprise not only venerable researchers, but also people far from scientific knowledge. Despite this, the team of Swedish scientists managed to find a special organ in the human body, the discovery of which can help expand our ideas about how we feel pain, as well as how to alleviate it.
Why can a person experience pain?
Perhaps you already know that we are capable ofperceive the whole palette of sensations occurring with our skin, thanks to special, especially sensitive endings of our nerve cells. These cells are not covered with a layer of myelin that protects them - a kind of membrane that, like electrical tape, protects cells from damage. The absence of any coating completely distinguishes nerve cells from cells of another type. Despite this, all nerve cells in our body are living and have the ability to connect with other cells called glia. If glia are located outside the central nervous system of a person, then such cells in science are called Schwann cells.
Swedish researchers in an interviewThey said that during the experiment, which served as the basis for further scientific discovery, they encountered a special type of cells - cells very similar to Schwann cells, which formed an extensive network with nerve cells in a slightly different way than previously observed. When scientists conducted new experiments on mice, it was discovered that such Schwann cells are directly responsible for our perception of pain and irritation. New cells have been proposed to be called nociceptive or pain receptors. Nociceptors mediate between the spinal cord and the brain, allowing the living creature to experience the pain necessary for the evolution of the body.
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One of the experiments carried out by the Swedishthe researchers included breeding mice with similar little-studied paw cells that could be activated when the mice were exposed to light. As soon as the light came on, the mice seemed to behave as if they were in pain, while licking themselves or guarding their paws.
Due to the fact that these cells spread throughthe whole skin in the form of a complexly connected system, the authors argue that this accumulation of cells should be considered as a single organ. In other words, sensitivity to pain can occur not only in the nerve fibers of the skin, but also in a newly discovered part of the body.
Despite the discovery of nociceptive cellswas first made on mice, scientists believe that this organ may well exist in the human body. If this is the case, then further detailed research can help people defeat the most complex types of chronic pain, giving a person the opportunity to lead a full life without resorting to potent painkillers.