New and emerging pharmacological targets for neuropathic pain
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Increasing knowledge of the molecular consequences of nerve injury and the availability of genome databases has greatly increased the range of potential targets for the pharmacological management of neuropathic pain. Controlling neuronal sensitization and the associated alterations in gene expression, protein modification, and neuronal excitability is the key to managing neuropathic pain. Control of neuronal sensitization can occur through inhibition of nerve injury-associated production of cytokines, activation of glial cells, modulation of potassium channel subtypes, mitogenactivated protein kinases, the ubiquitin-proteasome system, or the protection and amplification of spinal cord dorsal horn inhibitory systems. These new and already established targets promise unparalleled opportunities for the prevention, management, and resolution of persistent pain states following nerve injury.
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