Research Topic

Peripheral and Central Pain Processes

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Pain is often addressed in many different subfields, but its molecular neuroscience aspects are incompletely understood. Central and peripheral nervous system pain symptoms affect one out of 5 adults in Western society. This Research Topic is aimed at covering the recent research progress in the molecular ...

Pain is often addressed in many different subfields, but its molecular neuroscience aspects are incompletely understood. Central and peripheral nervous system pain symptoms affect one out of 5 adults in Western society. This Research Topic is aimed at covering the recent research progress in the molecular neuroscience aspects of the pain field. The neuro-genetics aspects of Migraine and Headache-associated genes, single nucleotide polymorphisms impairing their functioning and the underlying mechanisms of those will be covered by Arn van den Maagdenberg. At the electrophysiology level, Alexander Binshtok and Robert Goldstein will discuss the NaV- independent and -dependent transduction and action potential Initiation zones that form terminal-like structures in the murine peripheral nociceptive nerve trigeminal ganglion, whereas Katharina Zimmerman will focus on the relevant channels, especially TRPA1-carrying C-fibers as contributing to cool and noxious cold sensing in the mouse. At the post-transcriptional regulation level, microRNA-21 is one of the best studied non-coding RNAs which are intimately associated with normal cellular as well as pathological pain-related processes. Claudia Sommer and Nurcan Uceyler will report characterization of the B7H1 knockout mouse as a potential model of the pain-related consequences of microRNA-21 overexpression.
In human patients, chronic pain syndromes may develop after nerve damage, trauma or surgery, inducing both brain and body reactions, including anxiety and depression that greatly impair the patients’ quality of life. Painful neuropathies may either be transient, such as the chemotherapy-induced pain syndrome presented by Patrick Dougherty; and the Pathophysiology of peripheral neuropathy induced by chemotherapy, as discussed by Hana Starbova and Irina Vetter. Alternatively, they may be irreversible, such as the most frequent, painful diabetic polyneuropathy which is a common complication of diabetes mellitus. Josef Bandarik and co-authors will present in this Research Topic a cross-sectional observational study in over 200 patients with diabetic neuropathy, focused on the risk factors and somatosensory phenotypes characteristic of and distinguishing between painful and painless diabetic neuropathy. A review by Hans-Georg Scheible will be focused on the mechanisms of osteoarthritic pain in patients and animal models alike. In terms of the severity of symptoms, the rare chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is an extremely painful condition that occurs in some patients after bone or tissue injury and peripheral nerve injury and leads to traumatic neuropathy. The experimental mouse models for CRPS may be based on mouse tibial fracture and casting, the reaction to which intensifies with age. Frank Birklein and co-authors will discuss the chronic neuropathic pain in many of the CRPS patients. Those patients present well-characterized albeit aetiologically diverse neuropathic/neurogenic pain syndromes which cover a spectrum of chronic metabolic, inflammatory and traumatic mechanisms. Indeed, inflammation is a major element of many pain-related events, and inflammatory pain may be linked to impaired lipid metabolism and allostatic endogenous opioid peptides, a topic that is covered by Heike Rittner. Last, but not least Michael Costigan will present recent developments in the evolutionary forces operational in pain. The molecular neuroscience aspects of pain studies deserve newly focused attention.

Image credit: Hodaya Leibovich and Dr. Alexander Binshtok

Editorial Note: This Research Topic addresses the pain mechanisms from a basic research point of view. Please, note that the Research Topic Peripheral Aspects of Pain, published in Frontiers in Neurology, is closely related to the present Topic and addresses the theme of how peripheral sensory neurons contribute to pain from a clinical and preclinical perspective.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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