Update on the neurophysiology of pain transmission and modulation: Focus on the NMDA-receptor

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Abstract

Pain is detected by two different types of peripheral nociceptor neurons, C-fiber nociceptors with slowly conducting unmyelinated axons, and A-delta nociceptors with thinly myelinated axons. During inflammation, nociceptors become sensitized, discharge spontaneously, and produce ongoing pain. Prolonged firing of C-fiber nociceptors causes release of glutamate which acts on N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the spinal cord. Activation of NMDA receptors causes the spinal cord neuron to become more responsive to all of its inputs, resulting in central sensitization. NMDA-receptor antagonists, such as dextromethorphan, can suppress central sensitization in experimental animals. NMDA-receptor activation not only increases the cell's response to pain stimuli, it also decreases neuronal sensitivity to opioid receptor agonists. In addition to preventing central sensitization, co-administration of NMDA-receptor antagonists with an opioid may prevent tolerance to opioid analgesia. Copyright (C) 2000 U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee.

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APA

Bennett, G. J. (2000). Update on the neurophysiology of pain transmission and modulation: Focus on the NMDA-receptor. In Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (Vol. 19, pp. 2–6). Elsevier Inc. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0885-3924(99)00120-7

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