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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2015, Article ID 504691, 16 pages
Review Article

Neuroplasticity Underlying the Comorbidity of Pain and Depression

1Department of Anesthesiology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA
2Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA

Received 5 December 2014; Accepted 10 February 2015

Academic Editor: Geun Hee Seol

Copyright © 2015 Lisa Doan et al. 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.


Acute pain induces depressed mood, and chronic pain is known to cause depression. Depression, meanwhile, can also adversely affect pain behaviors ranging from symptomology to treatment response. Pain and depression independently induce long-term plasticity in the central nervous system (CNS). Comorbid conditions, however, have distinct patterns of neural activation. We performed a review of the changes in neural circuitry and molecular signaling pathways that may underlie this complex relationship between pain and depression. We also discussed some of the current and future therapies that are based on this understanding of the CNS plasticity that occurs with pain and depression.