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Molecular and Physiological Markers and Mechanisms of Chronic Pain 

Molecular and Physiological Markers and Mechanisms of Chronic Pain
Chapter:
Molecular and Physiological Markers and Mechanisms of Chronic Pain
Author(s):

Haibin Wang

and Edward Garay

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199349302.003.0002
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date: 18 August 2019

The detection of intense, noxious thermal, mechanical, or chemical stimuli is an important mechanism designed to avoid and limit ongoing or potential harms. Stimulus transmission and transduction are pivotal processes subjected to sensitization mechanisms, which change functional anatomy as well as cellular and intracellular function and signal fidelity. This chapter examines physiologic steps involved in converting a peripheral stimulus into the perception of pain, shifting the homeostatic process in a way that results in a chronic disorder. The chapter highlights mechanisms which govern central sensitization and lead to the development of chronic pain. In this context nociceptor activation threshold and modality specificity are discussed, as are the constituents of the local microenvironment (e.g., mast cell, glial cells), which are important regulators in the functional modification of the peripheral and central terminals of the nociceptor.

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