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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Mar 2024 - 7 Mar 2024

2024 Mar 05



Peripheral and central neurobiological effects of botulinum toxin A (BoNT/A) in neuropathic pain: a systematic review.


Moreau N, Korai SA, Sepe G, Panetsos F, Papa M, Cirillo G


Botulinum toxin (BoNT), a presynaptic inhibitor of acetylcholine (Ach) release at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), is a successful and safe drug for the treatment of several neurological disorders. However, a wide and recent literature review has demonstrated that BoNT exerts its effects not only at the “periphery” but also within the central nervous system (CNS). Studies from animal models, in fact, have shown a retrograde transport to the CNS, thus modulating synaptic function. The increasing number of articles reporting efficacy of BoNT on chronic neuropathic pain (CNP), a complex disease of the CNS, demonstrates that the central mechanisms of BoNT are far from being completely elucidated. In this new light, BoNT might interfere with the activity of spinal, brain stem, and cortical circuitry, modulating excitability and the functional organization of CNS in healthy conditions. Botulinum toxins efficacy on CNP is the result of a wide and complex action on many and diverse mechanisms at the basis of the maladaptive plasticity, the core of the pathogenesis of CNP. This systematic review aims to discuss in detail the BoNT’s mechanisms and effects on peripheral and central neuroplasticity, at the basis for the clinical efficacy in CNP syndromes.