Recent work has succeeded in producing models of painful peripheral neuropathies in laboratory animals. There is evidence that the animals experience both abnormal spontaneous pain and abnormal evoked pains (allodynia and hyperalgesia). Experimental analyses of these models have demonstrated potential pathophysiologic mechanisms in both the peripheral and central nervous systems; it is likely that the model neuropathic pain syndromes are due to several different mechanisms. One line of evidence suggests that these pain states gradually become centralized due to an excitotoxic effect on spinal cord dorsal horn inhibitory interneurons. The role of the sympathetic nervous system appears to vary, depending on the type of nerve injury and the temporal evolution of the syndrome. There is evidence indicating that theabnormality of cutaneous temperature regulation that often accompanies painful peripheral neuropathy is not necessarily due to the activity of sympathetic vasomotor efferents. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.