Zhang, X (reprint author), Chinese Acad Sci, Shanghai Inst Biol Sci, Inst Neurosci, Lab Sensory Syst, Shanghai 200031, Peoples R China,firstname.lastname@example.org
The molecular modification of the pain pathway represents one of the major mechanisms underlying neuropathic pain. Recently, gene array studies have been carried out to identify the genes that are regulated at the spinal cord level after peripheral nerve injury. These studies demonstrate that peripheral nerve injury causes marked changes in gene expression in both the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and the dorsal spinal cord. The markedly regulated molecules include, for example, neuropeptides, receptors, ion channels, signal transduction molecules and synaptic vesicle proteins. Upregulation of the Ca2+ channel alpha 2/delta 1 subunit, gamma-aminobutyric acid A receptor alpha 5 subunit, Na+ channels and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the DRG and dorsal spinal cord indicates their potential roles in neuropathic pain control.