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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016, Article ID 5808215, 11 pages
Review Article

Therapeutic Strategies for Neuropathic Pain: Potential Application of Pharmacosynthetics and Optogenetics

1College of Pharmacy, Chosun University, Gwangju 501-759, Republic of Korea
2Department of Pharmacy, Hanyang University, ERICA Campus, 55 Hanyangdaehak-ro, Sannok-gu, Ansan, Gyeonggi-do 426-791, Republic of Korea

Received 26 August 2015; Revised 27 November 2015; Accepted 17 December 2015

Academic Editor: Seungkyu Lee

Copyright © 2016 Gum Hwa Lee and Sang Seong Kim. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Chronic pain originating from neuronal damage remains an incurable symptom debilitating patients. Proposed molecular modalities in neuropathic pain include ion channel expressions, immune reactions, and inflammatory substrate diffusions. Recent advances in RNA sequence analysis have discovered specific ion channel expressions in nociceptors such as transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, voltage-gated potassium, and sodium channels. G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) also play an important role in triggering surrounding immune cells. The multiple protein expressions complicate therapeutic development for neuropathic pain. Recent progress in optogenetics and pharmacogenetics may herald the development of novel therapeutics for the incurable pain. Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs) facilitate the artificial manipulation of intracellular signaling through excitatory or inhibitory G protein subunits activated by biologically inert synthetic ligands. Expression of excitatory channelrhodopsins and inhibitory halorhodopsins on injured neurons or surrounding cells can attenuate neuropathic pain precisely controlled by light stimulation. To achieve the discrete treatment of injured neurons, we can exploit the transcriptome database obtained by RNA sequence analysis in specific neuropathies. This can recommend the suitable promoter information to target the injury sites circumventing intact neurons. Therefore, novel strategies benefiting from pharmacogenetics, optogenetics, and RNA sequencing might be promising for neuropathic pain treatment in future.