Skip to content

Neuropathic pain: a maladaptive response of the nervous system to damage

by M Costigan, J Scholz, C J Woolf
Annu Rev Neurosci ()
Get full text at journal


Neuropathic pain is triggered by lesions to the somatosensory nervous system that alter its structure and function so that pain occurs spontaneously and responses to noxious and innocuous stimuli are pathologically amplified. The pain is an expression of maladaptive plasticity within the nociceptive system, a series of changes that constitute a neural disease state. Multiple alterations distributed widely across the nervous system contribute to complex pain phenotypes. These alterations include ectopic generation of action potentials, facilitation and disinhibition of synaptic transmission, loss of synaptic connectivity and formation of new synaptic circuits, and neuroimmune interactions. Although neural lesions are necessary, they are not sufficient to generate neuropathic pain; genetic polymorphisms, gender, and age all influence the risk of developing persistent pain. Treatment needs to move from merely suppressing symptoms to a disease-modifying strategy aimed at both preventing maladaptive plasticity and reducing intrinsic risk.

Cite this document (BETA)

Readership Statistics

582 Readers on Mendeley
by Discipline
47% Medicine and Dentistry
36% Agricultural and Biological Sciences
5% Psychology
by Academic Status
21% Student > Ph. D. Student
19% Researcher
13% Student > Bachelor
by Country
3% United States
2% United Kingdom
1% Chile

Sign up today - FREE

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research. Learn more

  • All your research in one place
  • Add and import papers easily
  • Access it anywhere, anytime

Start using Mendeley in seconds!

Sign up & Download

Already have an account? Sign in