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Papers: 8 Jun 2024 - 14 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 08

Biochem Pharmacol


A historical perspective and recent advances on the evolution of the relationship between acute and chronic pain and cardiovascular disease.


Barrett JE, Kohut AR


The relationship between acute pain and the cardiovascular system was recognized approximately 50 years ago following the initial observation, along with several subsequent experimental studies, that hypertension can result in decreases in the perception of pain. These studies provided a strong impetus to study potential mechanisms to clarify commonalities between the regulatory pathways associated with pain and the cardiovascular system. Attention subsequently shifted to an emphasis on the impact of chronic pain on cardiovascular diseases and mortality with several large meta-analyses of longitudinal studies providing clear evidence that chronic widespread pain increases the risk for developing cardiovascular disease and is associated with excess morbidity and mortality. Cardiovascular associated mortality from myocardial infarction and stroke appears to be directly related to the duration and severity of chronic pain, a result often characterized as a ‘dose-response’ relationship. The availability and reproducibility of extensive large-scale observational and retrospective studies have emphasized the critical need for more research, including prospective studies, along with the need for the development of preclinical animal models, to better understand the relationship(s) and underlying mechanisms between chronic pain, associated comorbidities, and cardiovascular disease. Elucidation and a deeper understanding of these relationships, including a focus on the link between chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, and depression, could provide valuable information to guide the development of potential treatment interventions to aid in attenuating pain while preventing pain-associated cardiovascular disease, comorbidities, and mortality.