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FASEB J. 2008 Oct;22(10):3432-42. doi: 10.1096/fj.08-109355. Epub 2008 Jun 17.

The IKK-NF-kappaB pathway: a source for novel molecular drug targets in pain therapy?

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  • 1Pharmazentrum Frankfurt/ZAFES, Institut für Klinische Pharmakologie, Klinikum der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Theodor Stern Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Several studies indicate that the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) -activation cascade plays a crucial role not only in immune responses, inflammation, and apoptosis but also in the development and processing of pathological pain. Accordingly, a pharmacological intervention into this pathway may have antinociceptive effects and could provide novel treatment strategies for pain and inflammation. In this review we summarize the role of NF-kappaB in the nervous system, its impact on nociception, and several approaches that investigated the effects of various modulators of the classical I-kappaB-kinase-NF-kappaB signal transduction pathway in inflammatory nociception and neuropathic pain. The results indicate that NF-kappaB has an impact on nociceptive transmission and processing and that a number of substances that inhibit the NF-kappaB-activating cascade are capable of reducing the nociceptive response in different animal models. Therefore, a modulation of specific participants in the NF-kappaB signal transduction might exert a useful approach for the development of new painkillers.

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