Receptors and channels that underlie nociceptive signaling constitute potential sites of intervention for treatment of chronic pain states. The kainate receptor family of glutamate-gated ion channels represents one such candidate set of molecules. They have a prominent role in modulation of excitatory signaling between sensory and spinal cord neurons. Kainate receptors are also expressed throughout central pain neuraxis, where their functional contributions to neural integration are less clearly defined. Pharmacological inhibition or genetic ablation of kainate receptor activity reduces pain behaviors in a number of animal models of chronic pain, and small clinical trials have been conducted using several orthosteric antagonists. This review will cover kainate receptor function and participation in pain signaling as well as the pharmacological studies supporting further consideration as potential targets for therapeutic development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine