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Painful neurotrophins and their role in visceral pain

López-Pérez, Ana, E.a,d; Nurgali, Kulmiraf,g; Abalo, Raquelb,c,d,e

doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000386
REVIEW ARTICLES
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Beyond their well-known role in embryonic development of the central and peripheral nervous system, neurotrophins, particularly nerve growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor, exert an essential role in pain production and sensitization. This has mainly been studied within the framework of somatic pain, and even antibodies (tanezumab and fasinumab) have recently been developed for their use in chronic somatic painful conditions, such as osteoarthritis or low back pain. However, data suggest that neurotrophins also exert an important role in the occurrence of visceral pain and visceral sensitization. Visceral pain is a distressing symptom that prompts many consultations and is typically encountered in both ‘organic’ (generally inflammatory) and ‘functional’ (displaying no obvious structural changes in routine clinical evaluations) disorders of the gut, such as inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome, respectively. The present review provides a summary of neurotrophins as a molecular family and their role in pain in general and addresses recent investigations of the involvement of nerve growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in visceral pain, particularly that associated with inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

aPain Unit, Anaesthesia Service, Gregorio Marañon University Hospital

bAssociated Unit I+D+i to the Institute of Medicinal Chemistry (IQM)

cAssociated Unit I+D+i to the Institute of Research in Food Sicence (CIAL), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Madrid

dGroup of Excellent Research URJC-Bank of Santander-Multidisciplinary Group in Pain Research and Treatment (i+DOL)

eArea of Pharmacology and Nutrition, Department of Basic Health Sciences, University Rey Juan Carlos (URJC), Alcorcón, Spain

fCollege of Health & Biomedicine, Victoria University

gDepartment of Medicine, Western Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells Program, Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Correspondence to Raquel Abalo, PhD, Area of Pharmacology and Nutrition, Department of Basic Health Sciences, University Rey Juan Carlos (URJC), 28922 Alcorcón, Spain E-mail: raquel.abalo@urjc.es

Received August 25, 2017

Accepted January 16, 2018

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