The action of botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) at the neuromuscular junction has been extensively investigated and knowledge gained in this field laid the foundation for the use of BoNTs in human pathologies characterized by excessive muscle contractions. Although much more is known about the action of BoNTs on the peripheral system, growing evidence has demonstrated several effects also at the central level. Pain conditions, with special regard to neuropathic and intractable pain, are some of the pathological states that have been recently treated with BoNTs with beneficial effects. The knowledge of the action and potentiality of BoNTs utilization against pain, with emphasis for its possible use in modulation and alleviation of chronic pain, still represents an outstanding challenge for experimental research. This review highlights recent findings on the effects of BoNTs in animal pain models.
Keywords: SNARE; analgesia; animal model; botulinum toxin; central sensitization; chronic pain; inflammatory pain; pain; peripheral sensitization; retrograde axonal transport.