The neurotrophin and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) family of growth factors have been extensively studied because of their proven ability to regulate development of the peripheral nervous system. The neurotrophin family, which includes nerve growth factor (NGF), NT-3, NT4/5 and BDNF, is also known for its ability to regulate the function of adult sensory neurons. Until recently, little was known concerning the role of the GNDF-family (that includes GDNF, artemin, neurturin and persephin) in adult sensory neuron function. Here we describe recent data that indicates that the GDNF family can regulate sensory neuron function, that some of its members are elevated in inflammatory pain models and that application of these growth factors produces pain in vivo. Finally we discuss how these two families of growth factors may converge on a single membrane receptor, TRPV1, to produce long-lasting hyperalgesia.