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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2008 Jun;65(12):1813-9. doi: 10.1007/s00018-008-8155-6.

Galanin and spinal pain mechanisms: where do we stand in 2008?

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Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Clinical Neurophysiology, Karolinska University Hospital-Huddinge, 14186 Huddinge, Sweden.


Since the discovery of galanin in 1983, one of the most frequently mentioned possible physiological functions for this peptide is spinal pain modulation. This notion, initially based on the preferential presence of galanin in dorsal spinal cord, has been supported by results from a large number of morphological, molecular and functional studies in the last 25 years. It is generally agreed that spinally applied galanin produces a biphasic dose-dependent effect on spinal nociception through activation of GalR1 (inhibitory) or GalR2 (excitatory) receptors. Galanin also appears to have an inhibitory role endogenously, particularly after peripheral nerve injury when the synthesis of galanin is increased in sensory neurons. In recent years, small-molecule ligands of galanin receptors have been developed, raising the hope that drugs affecting galaninergic transmission may be used as analgesics.

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