Accumulating evidence has established a firm role for synaptic plasticity in the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain. Recent advances have highlighted the importance of dendritic spine remodeling in driving synaptic plasticity within the CNS. Identifying the molecular players underlying neuropathic pain induced structural and functional maladaptation is therefore critical to understanding its pathophysiology. This process of dynamic reorganization happens in unique phases that have diverse pathologic underpinnings in the initiation and maintenance of neuropathic pain. Recent evidence suggests that pharmacological targeting of specific proteins during distinct phases of neuropathic pain development produces enhanced antinociception. These findings outline a potential new paradigm for targeted treatment and the development of novel therapies for neuropathic pain. We present a concise review of the role of dendritic spines in neuropathic pain and outline the potential for modulation of spine dynamics by targeting two proteins, srGAP3 and Rac1, critically involved in the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton.
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