Mechanisms of neuropathic pain

Publication year: 2011
Source: European Neuropsychopharmacology, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 14 June 2011

Florian T., Nickel , Frank, Seifert , Stefan, Lanz , Christian, Maihöfner

Neuropathic pain is a disease of global burden. Its symptoms include spontaneous and stimulus-evoked painful sensations. Several maladaptive mechanisms underlying these symptoms have been elucidated in recent years: peripheral sensitization of nociception, abnormal excitability of afferent neurons, central sensitization comprising pronociceptive facilitation, disinhibition of nociception and central reorganization processes, and sympathetically maintained pain. This review aims to illustrate these pathophysiological principles, focussing on molecular and neurophysiological findings. Finally therapeutic options based on these findings are discussed.