Researchers have identified a key component in cigarette smoke that worsens pain in people with spinal cord injury, suggesting that a critical element within tobacco is responsible for such pain-inducing effects.
“Findings support anecdotal information suggesting that smoking increases pain in patients with spinal cord injuries,” said Riyi Shi (pronounced Ree Shee), a professor of neuroscience and biomedical engineering in Purdue University’s Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. “This neuropathic pain could be felt in the leg and upper extremities, or in any part of the body.”
A toxin from cigarette smoke has been shown to cause pain in animals with spinal cord injuries. The same toxin is known to activate pain sensors in nerve fibers.
The research showed that a neurotoxin called acrolein contained in cigarette smoke intensified neuropathic pain after spinal cord injuries in rats. Acrolein is known to worsen pain by activating and causing a proliferation of pain receptors called TRPA1, or transient receptor potential ankyrin-1, found in nerve fibers.
Original source of this content: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-06-neurotoxin-cigarette-worsens-pain-spinal.html