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date: 06 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Pain is not a simple phenomenon and, beyond its conscious perception, involves circuitry that allows the brain to provide an affective context for nociception, which can influence mood and memory. In the past decade, neurobiological techniques have been developed that allow investigators to elucidate the importance of particular groups of neurons in different aspects of the pain response, something that may have important translational implications for the development of novel therapies. Chemo- and optogenetics represent two of the most important technical advances of recent times for gaining understanding of physiological circuitry underlying complex behaviors. The use of these techniques for teasing out the role of neurons and glia in nociceptive pathways is a rapidly growing area of research. The major findings of studies focused on understanding circuitry involved in different aspects of nociception and pain are highlighted in this article. In addition, attention is drawn to the possibility of modification of chemo- and optogenetic techniques for use as potential therapies for treatment of chronic pain disorders in human patients.

Keywords: chemogenetics, optogenetics, nociception, pain, DREADD

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