The mechanisms of neuropathic pain in spinal cord injury.

Beyond paralysis, chronic neuropathic pain drastically impairs the quality of life for spinal cord injury (SCI) victims. Despite years of research, this type of pain remains refractory to treatment. Consequently, pain can persist for decades post-injury, and depression and suicide frequently result. Although inflammation is the major pathology of neuropathic pain in SCI, the mechanisms by which it occurs are not entirely clear, and the resulting allodynia is refractory to conventional anti-inflammatories. Growing evidence suggests that oxidative stress plays a critical role in pain. However, free radical scavengers alone have been unsuccessful at preventing the development or progression of neuropathic pain. Our lab is interested in improving our understanding of the mechanisms of oxidative stress and thereby identifying novel, more effective therapeutic targets.