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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9724371, 10 pages
Review Article

The Link between Depression and Chronic Pain: Neural Mechanisms in the Brain

1Jilin Provincial Key Laboratory on Molecular and Chemical Genetic, The Second Hospital of Jilin University, 218 Ziqiang Street, Changchun 130041, China
2Department of Genetics and Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Ranji Cui; nc.ude.ulj@ijnariuc and Xuewen Zhang; nc.ude.ulj@wxgnahz

Received 25 March 2017; Revised 4 May 2017; Accepted 24 May 2017; Published 19 June 2017

Academic Editor: Aijun Li

Copyright © 2017 Jiyao Sheng 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.


Chronic pain, as a stress state, is one of the critical factors for determining depression, and their coexistence tends to further aggravate the severity of both disorders. Unfortunately, their association remains unclear, which creates a bottleneck problem for managing chronic pain-induced depression. In recent years, studies have found considerable overlaps between pain- and depression-induced neuroplasticity changes and neurobiological mechanism changes. Such overlaps are vital to facilitating the occurrence and development of chronic pain and chronic pain-induced depression. In this review, we summarized the role of neuroplasticity in the occurrence and development of the two disorders in question and explored individualized application strategies of analgesic drugs and antidepressants that have different pharmacological effects in the treatment of chronic pain-induced depression. Therefore, this review may provide new insights into the understanding of association between chronic pain and depression.