Axonal protein synthesis: a potential target for pain relief?

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2012 Feb;12(1):42-8. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2011.10.005. Epub 2011 Oct 25.


Research on the role of axonal protein synthesis in the regulation of nociceptive mechanisms has grown significantly over the past four years. Recent advances include evidence that local translation of mRNA can occur in adult primary afferents under the control of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathways. Studies investigating the effect of mTOR and ERK pathway inhibitors in a number of pain models suggest that these signaling pathways may act independently, depending on the type of sensory afferents studied. The evidence that nociception can be regulated at the level of mRNA translation in nociceptors has important implications for the understanding of the mechanisms of nociceptive plasticity and therefore for therapeutic interventions in chronic pain conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Axons / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / genetics
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Nociceptors / metabolism
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / metabolism*


  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases