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Trends Neurosci. 2006 Apr;29(4):207-15. Epub 2006 Feb 21.

Fire and phantoms after spinal cord injury: Na+ channels and central pain.

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  • 1Department of Neurology and Center for Neuroscience and Regeneration Research, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


Neuropathic pain and phantom phenomena occur commonly after spinal cord injury (SCI) but their molecular basis is not yet fully understood. Recent findings demonstrate abnormal expression of the Nav1.3 Na(+) channel within second-order spinal cord dorsal horn neurons and third-order thalamic neurons along the pain pathway after SCI, and suggest that this change makes these neurons hyperexcitable so that they act as pain amplifiers and generators. Delineation of molecular changes that contribute to hyperexcitability of pain-signaling neurons might lead to identification of molecular targets that will be useful in the treatment of neuropathic pain after SCI and related nervous system injuries.

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