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Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 Feb 2023 - 24 Feb 2023


Human Studies, Molecular/Cellular

Inflammation/Inflammatory, Itch, Neuropathic Pain

2023 Feb 16

J Burn Care Res


Understanding Neural Factors in Burn-Related Pruritus and Neuropathic Pain.


Gunawardena DA, Stanley E, Issler-Fisher AC


Post-burn pruritus and neuropathic pain significantly affect the quality of life of affected individuals in several domains including psychosocial well-being, sleep and general impairment in activities of daily living. Whilst neural mediators involved in itch in the non-burns setting have been well investigated, there remains a lacuna of literature examining the pathophysiological and histological changes unique to burn-related pruritus and neuropathic pain. The aim of our study was to conduct a scoping review into the neural factors that contribute to burn-related pruritus and neuropathic pain. A scoping review was conducted to provide an overview of the available evidence. The PubMed, EMBASE and Medline databases were searched for publications. Data regarding neural mediators implicated, population demographics, total body surface area (TBSA) affected and sex was extracted. In total, 11 studies were included in this review with a total of 881 patients. The most frequently investigated neurotransmitter was the Substance P (SP) neuropeptide which appeared in 36% of studies (n = 4), followed by calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) in 27% of studies (n = 3). Post-burn pruritus and neuropathic pain are symptomatic experiences that are predicated upon a heterogenous group of underlying mechanisms. What is clear from the literature, however, is that itch and pain may occur secondary to the influence of both neuropeptides, such as SP, and other neural mediators including Transient receptor protein channels. Of the articles included for review, they were characterised by small sample sizes and large differences in statistical methodology and reporting.