Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Neurobiol. 2004 Oct;61(1):55-71.

Voltage-gated sodium channels and pain pathways.

Author information

  • 1Molecular Nociception Group, Department of Biology, University College, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK.


Acute, inflammatory, and neuropathic pain can all be attenuated or abolished by local treatment with sodium channel blockers such as lidocaine. The peripheral input that drives pain perception thus depends on the presence of functional voltage-gated sodium channels. Remarkably, two voltage-gated sodium channel genes (Nav1.8 and Nav1.9) are expressed selectively in damage-sensing peripheral neurons, while a third channel (Nav1.7) is found predominantly in sensory and sympathetic neurons. An embryonic channel (Nav1.3) is also upregulated in damaged peripheral nerves and associated with increased electrical excitability in neuropathic pain states. A combination of antisense and knock-out studies support a specialized role for these sodium channels in pain pathways, and pharmacological studies with conotoxins suggest that isotype-specific antagonists should be feasible. Taken together, these data suggest that isotype-specific sodium channel blockers could be useful analgesics.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk