Skip to main content English


Priv.Doz. Bernhard Heinke

Center for Brain Research (Division of Neurophysiology)
Position: Research Associate (Postdoc)

Further Information


Chronic Pain; Neuronal Plasticity; Pain; Synaptic Transmission

Research interests

We are interested in central nervous system mechanisms of pain amplification (hyperalgesia) and touch evoked pain (allodynia) and in mechanisms and novel targets for the treatment and prevention of pain syndromes.

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

  • Modern electrophysiological techniques in vitro and in vivo
    Synaptic plasticity and intrinsic properties of neurons in pain pathways are studied in our lab by measuring extracellular field potentials in the intact animal and by performing whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from identified nociceptive neurons in spinal cord slices with long-dorsal roots attached.
  • State of the art live-cell imaging
    We perform widefield ratiometric Ca2+ imaging with Ca2+-sensitive dyes, as well as high-resolution confocal and multiphoton laser scanning microscopy in vitro and in vivo.

Selected publications

  1. Leitner, J. et al., 2013. Impaired excitatory drive to spinal GABAergic neurons of neuropathic mice. PLoS ONE 8, p.e73370. Available at:
  2. Fenselau, H., Heinke, B. & Sandkühler, J., 2011. Heterosynaptic long-term potentiation at GABAergic synapses of spinal lamina I neurons. Journal of Neuroscience 31, 17383-17391. Available at:
  3. Heinke, B., Gingl, E. & Sandkühler, J., 2011. Multiple targets of mu-opioid receptor mediated presynaptic inhibition at primary afferent Ad- and C-fibers Journal of Neuroscience 31: 1313-1322. Available at:
  4. Heinke, B. & Sandkühler, J., 2007. Group I metabotropic glutamate receptor-induced Ca2+-gradients in rat superficial spinal dorsal horn neurons. Neuropharmacology 52, 1015-1023. Available at:
  5. Heinke, B. & Sandkühler, J., 2005. Signal transduction pathways of group I metabotropic glutamate receptor-induced long-term depression at sensory spinal synapses. Pain 118, 145-154. Available at: