Epigenetic Mechanisms of Neuropathic Pain
Department of Anesthesiology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Neuropathic pain resulting from peripheral nerve injury is a long-term, debilitating condition affecting the quality of daily-life of over 50 million American people. It is hard to treat in part due to incompletely understanding nerve injury-induced changes in gene transcription and translation in first-order sensory neurons of dorsal root ganglion (DRG). The epigenetic modification including DNA methylation and histone methylation/acetylation gates gene expression. Recent work has shown that peripheral nerve injury altered histone H3 methylation and the DNA methylation of some pain-related gene promoters. These alterations contribute to neuropathic pain genesis and maintenance through participation in nerve injury-induced changes in gene expression in the injured DRG. We summarize the current knowledge and progress in epigenetic research in neuropathic pain and discuss then potential role of epigenetic modifications as therapeutic antinociceptive targets for neuropathic pain management.