Dr. Richebé's laboratory assesses new strategies (using animal surgical models) to better understand the transition from postoperative acute pain to chronic pain (pain chronicization) as well as the influence of preoperative opioids and high doses of intraoperative opioids on this postoperative pain sensitization and vulnerability. For this purpose, our studies concentrate on the mechanisms of central pain sensitization in the spinal cord; additionally, we study those brain areas important for pain modulation (such as the RVM, the PAG and the amygdala). Among the mechanisms of spinal sensitization, we are particularly interested in the interaction of neurons-glia cells. Finally, the determination of key contributors in pain chronicization will allow identifying specific pain vulnerability markers worthy for the diagnosis of high-risk patients.
The laboratory is also involved in the development of clinical studies on the same topic with the goal of phenotyping and genotyping patients before surgery to predict the development of postoperative chronic pain. The goal of these studies is to propose adequate therapeutic strategies to avoid long-term chronic pain (in addition to enhancing long-term rehabilitation and quality of life after surgery).