About this Research Topic
Acute pain that resolves quickly is a commonly experienced and evolutionarily conserved mechanism of survival. On the contrary, chronic pain, which may persist for years, is associated with inflammatory diseases, peripheral and central neuropathies, idiopathic conditions, cancer, and is a distinct and debilitating condition affecting approximately 20% of adults globally.
Neuropathic pain (NP) is a subtype of chronic pain that arises as a consequence of a lesion or disease of the somatosensory nervous system and affects 7–10% of the world population. Patients suffering from chronic NP are characterized by higher health care utilization, higher risk of comorbidities such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances, and lower quality of life compared to patients with chronic non-neuropathic pain.
The conditions and the pathophysiological states that determine the onset of NP mostly involved are metabolic disorders (e.g. peripheral diabetic neuropathy), neuropathies associated with viral infections (e.g. post-herpetic neuralgia, HIV, leprosy), autoimmune disorders affecting the central nervous system (e.g. multiple sclerosis and Guillain–Barre syndrome), chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathies, damage to the nervous system of traumatic origin (e.g. spinal cord injury (SCI) and amputation), inflammatory disorders, hereditary neuropathies, and channelopathies. Individuals with NP exhibit stimulus-independent pain that is often characterized by abnormal sensations or hypersensitivity in the affected area like allodynia and hyperalgesia. The current pharmacotherapy typically includes anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and opioid analgesics. However, this disease condition remains undertreated due to low treatment efficacy and systemic side effects associated with these currently available treatments.
Moreover, the mechanism underlying NP development is far from being clearly understood. Therefore, there is an urgent need to explore the fundamental mechanisms of neuropathic pain in order to develop new therapies that provide effective and selective analgesia, convenient administration and an absence of significant side effects.
In this Research Topic, which will comprise both Original Research articles (in vitro, animal or clinical studies) and Reviews, we invite researchers to discuss new therapeutic approaches for the management of neuropathic pain exploring novel molecular and cellular targets and the pathways promoting neuropathic pain development.
Keywords: neuropathic pain, molecular mechanisms, advanced therapies, new targets, allodynia, hyperalgesia
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