Voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) play an important role in neuronal excitability. Regulation of VGSC activity is a complex phenomenon that occurs at multiple levels in the cell, including transcriptional regulation, post-translational modification and membrane insertion and retrieval. Multiple VGSC subtypes exist that vary in their biophysical and pharmacological properties and tissue distribution. Any alteration of the VGSC subtype profile of a neuron or the mechanisms that regulate VGSC activity can cause significant changes in neuronal excitability. Inflammatory and neuropathic pain states are characterised by alterations in VGSC subtype composition and activity in sensory neurons. This review focuses on the VGSC subtypes involved in such pain states.
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