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Curr Pharm Des. 2011;17(5):434-48.

Uncovering new pharmacological targets to treat neuropathic pain by understanding how the organism reacts to nerve injury.

Author information

  • 1Lab. Pharmacology and Toxicology Universidad CEU San Pablo Urb. Montepríncipe, 28668 Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, Spain. beatrizyasmina.martinmartinez@ceu.es

Abstract

The neuropathic pain syndrome is complex. Current drugs to treat neuropathic pain, including anticonvulsivants and antidepressants, fail in up to 40-50% of the patients, while in the rest of them total alleviation is not normally achieved. Increased research advances in the neurobiology of neuropathic pain have not translated in more successful pharmacological treatments by the moment, but recent progress in the experimental methods available for this purpose could result in significant advances in the short term. One rational possibility for the pharmaceutical development of new drugs, including target identification, drug design and evaluation studies, could be to focus on mimicking what organism does to limit nerve damage or to enhance the regeneration of injured axons. Following this strategy, neurotrophic factors such as nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been postulated as potential pharmacological targets to treat neuropathic pain. In addition, during the last few years, strong scientific evidences point to novel neurotrophic factors, such as pleiotrophin (PTN), as important factors to limit neuropathic pain development because of their remodeling and angiogenic actions in the injured area. This review focuses on recent research advances identifying new pharmacological targets in the treatment of the cause, not only the symptoms, of neuropathic pain.

PMID:
21375486
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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