Cytokines and Pain

Part of the series Progress in Inflammation Research pp 159-181

Proinflammatory cytokines and glial cells: Their role in neuropathic pain

  • Joyce A. DeLeoAffiliated withDepartments of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
  • , Raymond W. ColburnAffiliated withDepartments of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

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Neuropathic pain, or chronic pain due to nerve injury, is a prevalent condition for which currently there is no effective treatment. These neuropathic pain syndromes include deafferentation pain, diabetic, cancer and ischemic neuropathies, phantom limb pain, trigeminal neuralgia, postherpetic neuralgias and nerve injury caused by surgery or trauma [1]. Neuropathic pain is not only chronic and intractable, it is debilitating and causes extreme physical, psychological and social distress. In an effort to provide even temporary relief, narcotics (opioids) are often used inappropriately and in excess. Even if opioids provide some initial relief, tolerance and physical dependence are major limitations to their continued use. Clearly, development of non-opioid and non-addictive treatments for neuropathic pain would offer tremendous benefit to chronic pain patients. Our laboratory has focused on understanding mechanisms that lead to neuropathic pain. This knowledge may then translate into development of new, effective approaches for treatment and even prevention of chronic pain syndromes.