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Papers: 18 Feb 2023 - 24 Feb 2023



Neuropathic Pain

2023 Feb 17

Can J Neurol Sci


The Known Biology of Neuropathic Pain and Its Relevance to Pain Management.


Smith PA


Patients with neuropathic pain are heterogeneous in pathophysiology, etiology, and clinical presentation. Signs and symptoms are determined by the nature of the injury and factors such as genetics, sex, prior injury, age, culture, and environment. Basic science has provided general information about pain etiology by studying the consequences of peripheral injury in rodent models. This is associated with the release of inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors that sensitize sensory nerve endings, alter gene expression, promote post-translational modification of proteins, and alter ion channel function. This leads to spontaneous activity in primary afferent neurons that is crucial for the onset and persistence of pain and the release of secondary mediators such as colony-stimulating factor 1 from primary afferent terminals. These promote the release of tertiary mediators such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor and interleukin-1β from microglia and astrocytes. Tertiary mediators facilitate the transmission of nociceptive information at the spinal, thalamic, and cortical levels. For the most part, these findings have failed to identify new therapeutic approaches. More recent basic science has better mirrored the clinical situation by addressing the pathophysiology associated with specific types of injury, refinement of methodology, and attention to various contributory factors such as sex. Improved quantification of sensory profiles in each patient and their distribution into defined clusters may improve translation between basic science and clinical practice. If such quantification can be traced back to cellular and molecular aspects of pathophysiology, this may lead to personalized medicine approaches that dictate a rational therapeutic approach for each individual.