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Pain Research and Treatment
Volume 2014, Article ID 412041, 7 pages
Review Article

Pathogenesis of Painful Diabetic Neuropathy

1Department of Diabetes, Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, Chorley and South Ribble District General Hospital, Preston Road, Chorley PR7 1PP, UK
2School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences and School of Forensic and Investigative Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire PR1 2HE, UK

Received 4 February 2014; Revised 31 March 2014; Accepted 15 April 2014; Published 6 May 2014

Academic Editor: Sulayman D. Dib-Hajj

Copyright © 2014 Amir Aslam 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.


The prevalence of diabetes is rising globally and, as a result, its associated complications are also rising. Painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) is a well-known complication of diabetes and the most common cause of all neuropathic pain. About one-third of all diabetes patients suffer from PDN. It has a huge effect on a person’s daily life, both physically and mentally. Despite huge advances in diabetes and neurology, the exact mechanism of pain causation in PDN is still not clear. The origin of pain could be in the peripheral nerves of the central nervous system. In this review, we discuss various possible mechanisms of the pathogenesis of pain in PDN. We discuss the role of hyperglycaemia in altering the physiology of peripheral nerves. We also describe central mechanisms of pain.