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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Jul 2022 - 8 Jul 2022

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2022 Jul 07

Rev Neurosci

Involvement of nerve growth factor (NGF) in chronic neuropathic pain – a systematic review.


Reis C, Chambel S, Ferreira A, Cruz C D
Rev Neurosci. 2022 Jul 07.
PMID: 35792932.


Pain is a complex experience, encompassing physiological and psychological components. Amongst the different types of pain, neuropathic pain, resulting from injuries to the peripheral or central nervous system, still constitutes a challenge for researchers and clinicians. Nerve growth factor (NGF) is currently regarded as a key contributor and may serve as a therapeutic target in many types of pain, likely including neuropathic pain. Here, we reviewed the role of NGF in neuropathic pain of peripheral and central origin, also addressing its potential use as a pharmacological target to better help patients dealing with this condition that severely impacts the everyday life. For this, we conducted a search in the databases PubMed and Scopus. Our search resulted in 1103 articles (458 in PubMed and 645 in Scopus). Only articles related to the involvement of NGF in pain or articles that approached its potential use as a target in treatment of pain symptoms were included. Duplicates were eliminated and 274 articles were excluded. After careful analysis, 23 articles were selected for review. Original articles studying the role of NGF in pathology as well as its modulation as a possible therapeutic target were included. We found that NGF is widely regarded as a key player in neuropathic pain and seen as a putative therapeutic target. However, evidence obtained from years of clinical trials highlights the toxic adverse effects of anti-NGF therapeutics, precluding its use in clinical context. Further studies are, thus, needed to improve treatment of chronic neuropathic pain.