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Functional and structural plasticity in the primary somatosensory cortex associated with chronic pain.

Functional and structural plasticity in the primary somatosensory cortex associated with chronic pain.
Author Information (click to view)

Kim W, Kim SK, Nabekura J,


Kim W, Kim SK, Nabekura J, (click to view)

Kim W, Kim SK, Nabekura J,

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Journal of neurochemistry 2017 03 09() doi 10.1111/jnc.14012
Abstract

Tissue or nerve injury induces widespread plastic changes from the periphery and spinal cord up to the cortex, resulting in chronic pain. Although many clinicians and researchers have extensively studied altered nociceptive signaling and neural circuit plasticity at the spinal cord level, effective treatments to ameliorate chronic pain are still insufficient. For about the last two decades, the rapid development in macroscopic brain imaging studies on humans and animal models have revealed maladaptive plastic changes in the ‘pain matrix’ brain regions, which may subsequently contribute to chronic pain. Among these brain regions, our group has concentrated for many years on the primary somatosensory (S1) cortex with a help of advanced imaging techniques and has found the functional and structural changes in neurons/glia as well as individual synapses in the S1 cortex during chronic pain. Taken together, it is now believed that such S1 plasticity is one of the causes for chronic pain, not a simple and passive epiphenomenon following tissue/nerve injury as previously thought. In this small review, we discuss the relation of plasticity in the S1 cortex with chronic pain, based on clinical trials and experimental studies conducted on this field. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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