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Neuropharmacology. 2017 Jan;112(Pt A):228-234. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2016.08.014. Epub 2016 Aug 16.

Ionotropic glutamate receptors contribute to pain transmission and chronic pain.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 1 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A8, Canada; Centre for the Study of Pain, University of Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A8, Canada; Center for Neuron and Disease, Frontier Institutes of Science and Technology, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, 710049, China. Electronic address:


Investigation of the synaptic mechanisms for sensory transmission and modulation provide us with critical information about the transmission of painful sensation as well as the basic mechanisms of chronic pain. Recent studies consistently demonstrate that glutamatergic synapses not only play an important role in sensory transmission, including pain and itch transmission, but also contribute to nociceptive sensitization at different levels of the brain. Different subtypes of glutamate receptors play selective roles in synaptic transmission and long-term potentiation (LTP), as well as synaptic modulation. Understanding the contribution of each subtype of glutamate receptors, and related downstream signaling pathways may provide a new opportunity to design better medicine for the treatment of different forms of chronic pain. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'Ionotropic glutamate receptors'.

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