Skip Navigation LinksHome > August 2014 - Volume 121 - Issue 2 > Noncoding RNAs: New Players in Chronic Pain
Anesthesiology:
doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000000265
Education: Review Article

Noncoding RNAs: New Players in Chronic Pain

Lutz, Brianna Marie B.S.; Bekker, Alex M.D., Ph.D.; Tao, Yuan-Xiang M.D., Ph.D.

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Abstract

Chronic pain, a common clinical symptom, is often treated inadequately or ineffectively in part due to the incomplete understanding of molecular mechanisms that initiate and maintain this disorder. Newly identified noncoding RNAs govern gene expression. Recent studies have shown that peripheral noxious stimuli drive expressional changes in noncoding RNAs and that these changes are associated with pain hypersensitivity under chronic pain conditions. This review first presents current evidence for the peripheral inflammation/nerve injury–induced change in the expression of two types of noncoding RNAs, microRNAs, and Kcna2 antisense RNA, in pain-related regions, particularly in the dorsal root ganglion. The authors then discuss how peripheral noxious stimuli induce such changes. The authors finally explore potential mechanisms of how expressional changes in dorsal root ganglion microRNAs and Kcna2 antisense RNA contribute to the development and maintenance of chronic pain. An understanding of these mechanisms may propose novel therapeutic strategies for preventing and/or treating chronic pain.

© 2014 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.

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