Fernando Cervero

Cervero fernando.cervero [at] mcgill.ca (Email)

Fernando Cervero, MD, PhD, DSc
McGill University
McIntyre Medical Bldg. Room 1207
3655 Promenade Sir William Osler
Montreal, Quebec H3G 1Y6

Phone: +1 (514) 398-5764
Fax: +1 (514) 398-8241

My research interests have always been in the Neurosciences, particularly in the physiology of somatic sensory systems in the periphery and the spinal cord. My work has focussed on the neurophysiology of pain and nociceptive systems with a special interest in the mechanisms of hyperalgesia and on pain of visceral origin. The main objective of the research during the last few years has been the study of the neurobiological mechanisms of pain and analgesia based on investigations ranging from human psychophysics, to cellular and molecular analysis in experimental animals.

Current projects include: Development of models of visceral pain and referred hyperalgesia in mice. Studies of hyperexcitability of spinal nociceptive systems in models of Functional Abdominal Pain. Role of the NKCC1 chloride co-transporter in the generation of hyperalgesic states. Identification of molecular targets known to participate in the development of central hyperexcitability states. Behavioral and molecular studies of estrogen-dependent pain states. Mechanisms of release of ATP and other factors from urinary bladder epithelial cells that may mediate interstitial cystitis.


Roza, C, Laird, J.M.A., Souslova, V., Wood, J.N. & Cervero, F. (2003) The TTX-resistant Na channel Nav1.8 is essential for the expression of spontaneous activity in damaged sensory axons of mice. J. Physiol. 550, 921-926

Galan, A., Cervero F& Laird, J.M.A. (2003) Extracellular signalling-regulated kinase-1 and -2 (ERK 1/2) mediate referred hyperalgesia in a murine model of visceral pain. Mol. Brain Res. 116, 126-134.

Cervero, F. & Laird, J.M.A. (2003). From acute to chronic pain: peripheral and central mechanisms. In Pain: current understanding, emerging therapies and novel approaches to drug discovery. Eds. C. Bountra, R. Munglani & W. Schmidt. Marcel Dekker Inc. (New York), pp 29-44.

Cervero, F. & Laird, J.M.A. (2004). Referred Visceral Hyperalgesia: from sensations to molecular mechanisms. In Hyperalgesia: molecular mechanisms and clinical implications. Eds. K. Brune and H.O. Handwerker. IASP Press, (Seattle), pp. 229-250.

Cervero, F. (2004). Visceral Pain. Contribution to a Website by the Wellcome Trust on Pain: Science, medicine, history, culture. http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/en/pain/microsite/science3.html

Laird, J.M.A., García-Nicas, E., Delpire, E.J.and Cervero, F. (2004) Presynaptic inhibition and spinal pain processing: a possible role of the NKCC1 cation-chloride co-transporter in hyperalgesia. Neurosci. Lett . 361: 200–203.

Cervero, F. and Laird, J.M.A. (2004) Understanding the signalling and transmission of visceral nociceptive events J. Neurobiol. 61, 45-54.

Galan, A., Laird, J.M.A. & Cervero F(2004) In vivo recruitment by painful stimuli of AMPA receptor subunits to the plasma membrane of spinal cord neurons. Pain 112, 315-323.

Laird, J.M.A. & Cervero, F. (2005). Voltage-gated sodium channels and visceral pain. In: Sodium channels, pain and analgesia ed: Baker, M. and Coward, K. Progress in Inflammation Research, series editor Parnham, M. Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, Switzerland, pp. 63-70.

Cervero, F. (2005). The Gate Theory then and now. In: The paths of pain. Eds. H. Merskey et al. IASP Press (Seattle) pp. 33-48.

Galan A. & Cervero F(2005) Painful stimuli induce in vivo phosphorylation and membrane mobilization of mouse spinal cord NKCC1 co-transporter. Neuroscience 133, 245–252.

Price T.J., Cervero Fand de Koninck Y. (2005) Role of Cation-Chloride-Cotransporters (CCC) in pain and hyperalgesia. Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry 5: 547-555.

Sanoja R & Cervero F (2005) Estrogen-dependent abdominal hyperalgesia induced by ovariectomy in adult mice: a model of functional abdominal pain. Pain 118, 243-253.

Garcia-Nicas E., Laird, J.M.A. & Cervero F(2006) GABAA receptor blockade reverses the injury-induced sensitization of Nociceptor Specific (NS) neurons in the spinal dorsal horn of the rat. J. Neurophysiol. 96: 661-670.

Cervero, F. (2006) Pain and the spinal cord. In: Pain, eds. F. Cervero and T.S. Jensen. Handbook of Clinical Neurology, Vol. 81. Elsevier (Edinburgh), pp 77-92.

Cervero, F. and Jensen, T.S. Eds. (2006) Pain. Handbook of Clinical Neurology, Vol. 81. Elsevier (Edinburgh) 911 pp.

Lin, Q., Cervero, F. and Schmelz, M. (2006) Pathophysiology of neurogenic inflammation. In Proceedings of the 11th World Congress on Pain, Eds. H. Flor, E. Kalso and J.O. Dostrovsky. IASP Press (Seattle), pp 155-168.

Price T.J., Flores, C.M., Cervero Fand Hargreaves K.M. (2006) The RNA binding and transport proteins staufen and fragile x mental retardation protein are expressed by rat primary afferent neurons and localize to peripheral and central axons. Neuroscience 141: 2107-16.

Price T.J., Hargreaves K.M. and Cervero F(2006). Protein expression and mRNA cellular distribution of the NKCC1 co-transporter in the dorsal root and trigeminal ganglia of the rat. Brain Research 27: 146-158.

Giamberardino, M.A. and Cervero, F. (2007) The neural basis of referred visceral pain. In Chronic abdominal and visceral pain: theory and practice. Eds. P.J. Parischa, W.D. Willis and G.F. Gebhart. Informa Healthcare (New York, London). pp 177-192.

Pitcher, MH, Price, TJ, Entrena JM and Cervero, F. (2007) Spinal NKCC1 blockade inhibits TRPV1-dependent referred allodynia. Molecular Pain, 3:17. (http://www.molecularpain.com/content/3/1/17)

Price TJ, Rashid MH, Millecamps M, Sanoja R, Entrena JM and Cervero F(2007) Decreased nociceptive sensitization in mice lacking the fragile X mental retardation protein: role of mGluR1/5 and mTOR. J. Neurosci. 27:13958-13967.

Sanoja R and Cervero F(2008) Estrogen modulation of ovariectomy-induced hyperalgesia in adult mice. Eur. J. Pain 12: 573-581.

Cervero, F. (2008) Pain Theories. In: Allan I. Basbaum, Akimichi Kaneko, Gordon M. Shepherd and Gerald Westheimer, editors The Senses: A Comprehensive Reference, Vol 5, Pain, M. Catherine Bushnell and Allan I. Basbaum, editors. San Diego: Academic Press; 2008. pp. 5-10.

Walczak JS, Price TJ and Cervero F(2009) Cannabinoid CB1 receptors are expressed in the mouse urinary bladder and their activation modulates afferent bladder activity. Neuroscience, 159: 1154-1163

Cervero F(2009) Hyperalgesia and allodynia. In Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. Eds. M.D. Binder, N. Hirokawa and U. Windhorst. Springer-Verlag; Berlin, Heidelberg. Pp 1876-1880.

Cervero F(2009) Pain mechanisms in the spinal cord. Web cast. Henry Stewart Talks. http://www.hstalks.com/main/browse_talk_info.php?talk_id=1128&series_id=380

Price TJ, Cervero F, Gold MS, Hammond DL and Prescott SA. (2009) Chloride Regulation in the Pain Pathway. Brain Res. Rev. 60: 149-170.

Cervero F (2009) Spinal cord hyperexcitability and its role in pain and hyperalgesia. Exp. Brain Res. 196:129–137.

Cervero F (2009) Pain, friend or foe? A neurobiologic perspective. Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine 34: 569-574.

Cervero F. and Laird, J.M.A. (2009) Animal models of visceral pain. In Visceral Pain. Ed. M.A. Giamberardino. Oxford University Press (Oxford). pp 31-38.

Cervero F. and Gebhart G.F. (2009) Visceral hypersensitivity. In E. Mayer and M.C. Bushnell Eds. Functional Pain Syndromes: presentation and pathophysiology. IASP Press (Seattle). pp 361-383.

Cervero, F. (2009) Pain Theories. In: Allan I. Basbaum and M. Catherine Bushnell, eds. Science of Pain. Elsevier (Amsterdam). pp. 5-10.

Cervero F. and Laird J.M.A. (2009) Spinal mechanisms of visceral pain and hyperalgesia. In M. Malcangio Ed. Synaptic plasticity in pain. Springer (Heidelberg, London, New York). pp 289-306.

Sanoja R. and Cervero F. (2010) Estrogen-dependent changes in visceral afferent sensitivity. Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical 153: 84–89

Sanoja R., Tortorici V., Fernandez C., Price TJ and Cervero F. (2010) Role of RVM neurons in capsaicin-evoked visceral nociception and referred hyperalgesia. Eur. J. Pain 14: 120-126

Rashid M.H., Lopez Garcia J.A. and Cervero F. (2010) Stimulation of dorsal root afferents increases the excitability of ascending sensory axons in the isolated spinal cord of mature mice. Brain Res. 1356: 24-31.

Pitcher M.H. and Cervero, F. (2010) Role of the NKCC1 co-transporter in sensitization of spinal nociceptive neurons. Pain. 151: 756-762

Klinger, M.B., Sacks, S. and Cervero F. (2011) A role for extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK 1/2) in the maintenance of persistent mechanical hyperalgesia in ovariectomized mice. Neuroscience. 172: 483-493

Walczak JS, and Cervero F. (2011) Local activation of cannabinoid CB1 receptors in the urinary bladder reduces the inflammation-induced sensitization of bladder afferents. Molecular Pain, 7:31. (http://www.molecularpain.com/content/7/1/31)

Witschi R., Punnakkal P., Paul J., Walczak J-S., Cervero F., Fritschy J-M., Kuner R., Keist R., Rudolph U. and Zeilhofer H-U. (2011) Presynaptic α2-GABAA Receptors in Primary Afferent Depolarization and Spinal Pain Control. J. Neuroscience. 31: 8134 – 8142

Laferrière A, Pitcher MH, Haldane A, Huang Y, Cornea V, Kumar N, Sacktor TC, Cervero F and CoderreTJ, (2011) Protein Kinase M-zeta is essential for spinal plasticity underlying the maintenance of persistent pain. Molecular Pain, 7:99 (http://www.molecularpain.com/content/7/1/99)

Cervero, F. (2012) Understanding pain: exploring the mechanisms of pain. The MIT Press (Cambridge, Mass and London, England) 172pp.

Pitcher MH, Nieto FR and Cervero F (2013) Stimulation of cutaneous low threshold mechanoreceptors in mice after intracolonic capsaicin increases c-Fos labeling in an NKCC1-dependent fashion. J. Pain. 14: 57-65.