Investigation of the synaptic mechanisms for sensory transmission and modulation provide us with critical information about the transmission of painful sensation as well as the basic mechanisms of chronic pain. Recent studies consistently demonstrate that glutamatergic synapses not only play an important role in sensory transmission, including pain and itch transmission, but also contribute to nociceptive sensitization at different levels of the brain. Different subtypes of glutamate receptors play selective roles in synaptic transmission and long-term potentiation (LTP), as well as synaptic modulation. Understanding the contribution of each subtype of glutamate receptors, and related downstream signaling pathways may provide a new opportunity to design better medicine for the treatment of different forms of chronic pain. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'Ionotropic glutamate receptors'.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.