Brain Res Rev. 2008 Dec 25.

Mechanisms of chronic central neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury.

Hulsebosch CE, Hains BC, Crown ED, Carlton SM.

Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77555-1043, USA.

Not all spinal contusions result in mechanical allodynia, in which non-noxious stimuli become noxious. The studies presented use the NYU impactor at 12.5 mm drop or the Infinite Horizons Impactor (150 kdyn, 1 s dwell) devices to model spinal cord injury (SCI). Both of these devices and injury parameters, if done correctly, will result in animals with above level (forelimb), at level (trunk) and below level (hindlimb) mechanical allodynia that model the changes in evoked somatosensation experienced by the majority of people with SCI. The sections are as follows: 1) Mechanisms of remote microglial activation and pain signaling in "below-level" central pain 2) Intracellular signaling mechanisms in central sensitization in "at-level" pain 3) Peripheral sensitization contributes to "above level" injury pain following spinal cord injury and 4) Role of reactive oxygen species in central sensitization in regional neuropathic pain following SCI. To summarize, differential regional mechanisms contribute to the regional chronic pain states. We propose the importance of understanding the mechanisms in the differential regional pain syndromes after SCI in the chronic condition. Targeting regional mechanisms will be of enormous benefit to the SCI population that suffer chronic pain, and will contribute to better treatment strategies for other chronic pain syndromes.