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Central Sensitization and Pain Genes 

Central Sensitization and Pain Genes
Chapter:
Central Sensitization and Pain Genes
Author(s):

Kenneth L. Casey

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190880231.003.0008
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date: 09 April 2020

Nociceptive fiber activity can lower the threshold for the excitation of central nervous system (CNS) neurons (central sensitization), rendering normally innocuous stimuli painful and increasing the temporal and spatial extent of pain and tenderness. Pathological central sensitization may be caused by nociceptive fibers releasing pro-inflammatory molecules (neuroinflammation) within CNS target sites and is often sustained by ongoing activity in sensory nerve fibers. The threshold, intensity, and persistence of both normal and pathological pain are determined by multiple genes that guide both interneuronal connectivity in the CNS and the structure of unique ion channels that affect the excitability of nociceptive nerve fibers. Rare genetic mutations in humans alter the structure of ion channels in nociceptors, creating either pathologically painless or painful conditions. These and related clinical syndromes can help identify structures within ion channels as molecular targets for pain treatment and help create genetic profiles for guiding the treatment and prevention of pathological pain.

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