Tetrahydrobiopterin and GTP cyclohydrolase

We have praised Clifford Woolf before and now he and his colleagues have completed a blockbuster study on a model of peripheral nerve injury and inflammatory pain, footed on an enzyme heretofore only known to be of relevance in a type of dystonia.


You have seen the term “neural plasticity” frequently at this site. It has several definitions. The most popular one of late refers to the reprogramming of genes within the neuron, so that the neuron is something slightly different, or even radically different. After all, the genes of say, a liver cell, are identical to the genes in a bone cell, but it is the control of the genes, programmed by other genes, which determines how a gene will behave, ie. whether it will make given building blocks of proteins, or not.

Perhaps the most significant study in neural plasticity has come from Clifford Woolf at Harvard. He is a former British scientist who came to the U.S. He has worked with and educated many other great scientists, who came to his lab for further study, and have then gone throughout the world to continue the work in related pain fields. Woolf is perhaps the most highly respected pain researcher in the world.

Working with clinical material gathered by Dr. Mitchell Max, who works at NIDCR (NIDCR is part of NIH and was the training area for one of our authors here at painonline), interfacing with patients as well as the PhD