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Spinal Mechanisms of Visceral Pain and Hyperalgesia

  • Fernando Cervero
  • Jennifer M. A. Laird
Chapter

Abstract

Visceral pain is the most frequent form of clinically relevant pain. The study of its mechanisms is therefore immediately relevant to human pain conditions but it also offers a unique insight into the generation of hyperalgesic states. All forms of visceral pain generate enhancements of pain sensitivity in locations remote from the originating injury, a process known as “referred hyperalgesia” that is equivalent to the secondary hyperalgesia that develops following a somatic injury. In some cases, referred hyperalgesia can be the only manifestation of an altered pain state in the absence of an apparent injury or dysfunction of an internal organ. Referred hyperalgesia, like secondary hyperalgesia, is the expression of an alteration of sensory processing in the CNS and analysis of the molecular targets implicated in its generation can shed light on the general mechanisms of pain hypersensitivity. In this chapter the spinal cord mechanisms implicated in the generation of visceral hyperalgesia are discussed with reference to an animal model of referred visceral hyperalgesia and to some of the potential molecular mediators of visceral hyperalgesic states.

Keywords

Dorsal Horn Visceral Pain Spinal Neuron Spinal Cord Neuron Superficial Dorsal Horn 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

AMPA

alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid

CaMKII

Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II

CNS

central nervous system

DRG

dorsal root ganglia

DRRs

dorsal root reflexes

ERK

extracellular signal-regulated kinases

GABA

gamma-amino-butyric-acid

GluR

glutamate receptor

LTP

long-term potentiation

MAP

mitogen-activated protein kinases

mRNA

messenger ribo-nucleic acid

NKCC1

Na+-K+-2Cl- co-transporter

NMDA

N-methyl-d-aspartate

PAD

primary afferent depolarization

TrpV1

transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor type 1

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anaesthesia Research UnitMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada H3G 1Y6
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Alan Edwards Centre for Research on PainMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada
  3. 3.AstraZeneca R&D MontréalMontréalCanada

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