Neurobiology of pain



The neurobiology of pain had a notable interest in research focused on the study of neuronal plasticity development, nociceptors, molecular identity, signaling mechanism, ionic channels involved in the generation, modulation and propagation of action potential in all type of excitable cells. All the findings open the possibility for developing new therapeutic treatment. Nociceptive/inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain represent two different kinds of persistent chronic pain. We have reviewed the different mechanism suggested for the maintenance of pain, like descending nociceptive mechanism and their changes after tissue damage, including suppression and facilitation of defence behavior during pain. The role of these changes in inducing NMDA and AMPA receptors gene expression, after prolonged inflammation is emphasized by several authors. Furthermore, a relation between a persistent pain and amygdale has been shown. Molecular biology is the new frontier in the study of neurobiology of pain. Since the entire genome has been studied, we will able to find new genes involved in specific condition such as pain, because an altered gene expression can regulate neuronal activity after inflammation or tissue damage. J. Cell. Physiol. 209: 8–12, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.