Neurotrophic factors as novel therapeutics for neuropathic pain

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2003 Jun;2(6):460-72. doi: 10.1038/nrd1107.


Neuropathic pain is a chronic condition that is caused by injury to the nervous system. Unlike acute pain, which is protective, neuropathic pain persists and serves no useful purpose, and severely affects quality of life. However, present therapies have modest efficacy in most patients, are palliative rather than curative, and their side effects represent significant limitations. Tremendous progress has been made over the past decade in our understanding of the biology of pain sensory neurons. The recent discovery that neurotrophic factors play an important role in neuropathic pain indicates that these pathways could serve as novel intervention points for therapy. Moreover, neurotrophic factors have the potential to address the underlying pathophysiology of neuropathic pain, thereby halting or reversing the disease process.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Nerve Growth Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / metabolism
  • Polyneuropathies / drug therapy*
  • Polyneuropathies / etiology
  • Polyneuropathies / metabolism
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / methods
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / trends


  • Nerve Growth Factors