Prof. Zhonghui GUAN
Associate Professor of Clinical Anesthesia Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Care, University of California, San Francisco, US
Dr. Zhonghui Guan is an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist. He has particular expertise in treating chronic pain, including low back pain, neck pain, neuropathic pain, complex regional pain syndrome, failed back surgery syndrome and cancer pain.
In his research, Guan focuses on better understanding the regulation of gene expression in chronic pain. Gene expression regulation is essentially cell processes that control synthesis of proteins or other products that play a role in body functions.
Guan earned his medical degree at Peking Union Medical College in Beijing. He completed an anesthesia residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by a pain management fellowship at UCSF.
Guan is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Society of Anesthesiologists, California Society of Anesthesiologists and Society for Neuroscience.
Background: There is remarkable variation among patients in the intensity of acute postsurgical pain, and patients with more severe acute postsurgical pain are more likely to develop prolonged postsurgical pain. However, the mechanism for the variation in acute postsurgical pain and the transition from acute to prolonged postsurgical pain remains unclear. In addition, activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) has been well studied as a molecular marker of the injured dorsal root ganglion (DRG) sensory neurons, but its functional role in pain behavior is less well understood.
Methods: With mouse hind paw skin incision as the model of postsurgical pain, we examined the ATF3 expression in lumbar DRG by immunohistochemistry and qRT-PCR, and we compared the pain behaviors between wild-type and Atf3 knockout mice after hind paw incision. We also analyzed the association of human ATF3 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with the postsurgical analgesic consumption in patients undergoing abdominal surgeries.
Results: We found that ATF3 was transiently induced in DRG sensory neurons after hind paw incision, and that Atf3 deficiency resulted in more severe and prolonged postsurgical pain behaviors in mice. We also demonstrated that patients with homozygous rs32721/rs3125293 ATF3 SNPs allele required higher dose of opioid and NSAIDs after abdominal surgeries than those with heterozygous rs3122721 /rs3125293 allele.
Conclusions: Our translational study suggests that ATF3 plays an important evolutionarily conserved role in regulating the intensity and the duration of postsurgical pain.