Identifying molecular mechanisms of acute to chronic pain transition and potential drug targets


Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center


Introduction: Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than the normal physiologic healing time at the time of initial insult. The transition from acute to chronic pain has been studied thoroughly. Understanding the mechanisms underlying chronic pain formation is essential for the development of novel treatments and therapeutics for chronic pain prevention.

Area covered: The transition from acute to chronic pain has been associated with the intracellular changes caused by repeated stimulus application, or neuronal priming, allowing for the chronicity of pain. Ongoing research studies have shown this priming to occur at various sites along the pathway for the neural transmission of pain. The purpose of this review is to not only elucidate the transition from acute to chronic pain and discuss current studies/trials related to this transition but also to highlight mechanisms involved in the process that could serve as potential targets for chronic pain prevention.

Expert opinion: We are providing an overview of novel treatment strategies for preventing the transition from acute to chronic pain. A multifaceted and multimodal approach that invokes multiple targets, at least one from each section (the periphery, the spinal cord, and the brain), would be the best option for tackling this problem.



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