Nociception is essential for survival whereas pathological pain is maladaptive and often unresponsive to pharmacotherapy. Voltage-gated sodium channels, Na(v)1.1-Na(v)1.9, are essential for generation and conduction of electrical impulses in excitable cells. Human and animal studies have identified several channels as pivotal for signal transmission along the pain axis, including Na(v)1.3, Na(v)1.7, Na(v)1.8, and Na(v)1.9, with the latter three preferentially expressed in peripheral sensory neurons and Na(v)1.3 being upregulated along pain-signaling pathways after nervous system injuries. Na(v)1.7 is of special interest because it has been linked to a spectrum of inherited human pain disorders. Here we review the contribution of these sodium channel isoforms to pain.
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