The development of neuropathic pain following peripheral nerve injury
Neuropathic pain causes much suffering for many patients, and is often very difficult to treat successfully due to their multifaceted disorder, representing a major health problem for the individual and a large economic burden for the society. This research project aims for a broad, integrative approach to study neuropathic pain in actual patients. We have identified a cohort of 1100 patients suffering from an objectively confirmed lesion in a peripheral sensory nerve, mostly due to sharp trauma some years earlier. All have been subject to nerve repairing surgery at the department of hand surgery at Uppsala University Hospital. At follow up, 48 % of them reported neuropathic pain of various degrees, while 52 % had no pain following the same type of nerve lesion. We studied the differences between the patients with pain and without pain regarding phenotype, genotype, biomarkers, and tissue analysis. The patients in the pain group, suffering from “definitive neuropathic pain”, represent a perfect model of traumatic neuropathic pain, giving us unique possibilities to study different aspects of neuropathic pain, on many levels. The results may be the basis for extended studies with the aim of identifying pathophysiological mechanisms of neuropathic pain and would be useful in therapy and testing new drugs.
Contact person: Adriana Miclescu