Author(s): Joshi SK, Gebhart GF
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Abstract Visceral pain, although different from somatic pain in several important features, is not as widely researched and consequently our knowledge of neurophysiologic mechanisms as well as clinical management of visceral pain states remains unsatisfactory. Several recent studies have employed different visceral pain animal models to provide insight into the peripheral and central nervous system mechanisms underlying pain originating from the urinary bladder, ureter, and gastrointestinal tract. The effects of opioid and nonopioid drugs in these models have also been evaluated and are reviewed in this article. The importance of anatomic pathways relaying pain sensation in the central nervous system, particularly the newly described dorsal column pathway, is also discussed. In human subjects, new techniques like positron emission tomography are now being used to better understand visceral pain perception. Such findings deriving from basic animal research and human studies summarized in the present overview lead to a better understanding of visceral pain states and may be helpful in developing better treatment strategies to combat visceral pain states in the clinical setting.
This article was published in Curr Rev Pain
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy