microRNAs in nociceptive circuits as predictors of future clinical applications.
Front. Mol. Neurosci.. 2013-01-01; 6:
Read on PubMed
Neuro-immune alterations in the peripheral and central nervous system play a role
in the pathophysiology of chronic pain, and non-coding RNAs – and microRNAs
(miRNAs) in particular – regulate both immune and neuronal processes.
Specifically, miRNAs control macromolecular complexes in neurons, glia and immune
cells and regulate signals used for neuro-immune communication in the pain
pathway. Therefore, miRNAs may be hypothesized as critically important master
switches modulating chronic pain. In particular, understanding the concerted
function of miRNA in the regulation of nociception and endogenous analgesia and
defining the importance of miRNAs in the circuitries and cognitive, emotional and
behavioral components involved in pain is expected to shed new light on the
enigmatic pathophysiology of neuropathic pain, migraine and complex regional pain
syndrome. Specific miRNAs may evolve as new druggable molecular targets for pain
prevention and relief. Furthermore, predisposing miRNA expression patterns and
inter-individual variations and polymorphisms in miRNAs and/or their binding
sites may serve as biomarkers for pain and help to predict individual risks for
certain types of pain and responsiveness to analgesic drugs. miRNA-based
diagnostics are expected to develop into hands-on tools that allow better patient
stratification, improved mechanism-based treatment, and targeted prevention
strategies for high risk individuals.