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Dr. Yves De Koninck

Event Start: Mar 27, 2019 1:00 pm
Location: School of Medicine, 132A

McEwen Lectureship

Dr. Yves De Koninck

Yves De Koninck, Ph.D., FCAHS, FRSC
Professor of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, Laval University
Canada Research Chair in Chronic Pain and Related Brain Disorders

Scientific Director, Sentinel North Initiative

Scientific Director, CERVO Brain Research Centre, Quebec Mental Health Institute
Director of Research, Quebec Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre

Neuronal chloride homeostasis; from regulation of synaptic plasticity to therapeutic target

A key to the future of chronic pain management is to understand the neurobiological mechanisms that govern how our brain adapts and maladapts to an imbalance in our sensory system because of an injury to our body or a disease condition. This is critical to be able to target the root cause of abnormal, pathological pain for therapeutic development. The drama is that most drugs used for treating chronic pain to date have emerged from off-label use and are therefore not designed to directly address the source the problem. My lab has pursued to identify key mechanisms explaining aberrant pain processing by the nervous system as well as co-morbidities that develop from sustained pain hypersensitivity. This includes the discovery of impaired inhibition resulting from chloride dysregulation in neuropathic pain conditions, leading to cross-talk between sensory channels and ectopic activity possibly underlying spontaneous pain. I will illustrate how such discoveries open new perspectives to understand abnormal pain and how it affects our thinking for therapeutic design. I will also describe how this work has led us to unravel some basic mechanisms underlying the adaptive and maladaptive response to opioid treatment, revealing that opiate tolerance, hyperalgesia and withdrawal result from distinct mechanisms. Each can be targeted independently, without affecting the analgesic effect of opioids, introducing avenues for adjuvant therapies to improve prolonged opioid use. Finally, I will conclude by showing that chloride regulation heterogeneity translates into significant differences in the robustness of inhibition, dramatically affecting metaplasticity at excitatory synapses. Local ionic plasticity thus critically shapes how different components of nociceptive pathways process sensory information.

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019
1:00 - 2:00 pm
School of Medicine, Room 132A

Reception at The University Club 
4:15 - 6:00 pm