Capsaicin-induced neuroplasticity : mechanistic studies for understanding neuropathic pain and optimizing its treatment

Capsaicin-induced neuroplasticity : mechanistic studies for understanding neuropathic pain and optimizing its treatment

Investigators : Sabien van Neerven, Ronald Deumens, Marjolein Leerink, Patrice Forget, Arnaud Steyaert, André Mouraux, Emmanuel Hermans.

The general objective of our project is to characterize the effects of topical capsaicin treatment on the changes in function and structure of nociceptive pathways associated with the development of chronic neuropathic pain and/or central sensitization. The proposed project is translational, from bench to bedside, as it will combine work performed in an animal model of neuropathic pain and work performed in patients suffering from chronic post-operative pain. Understanding how topical capsaicin may exert an effect on the central mechanisms associated with chronic pain could lead to a better understanding of these mechanisms and their actual involvement in chronic pain, thus opening new perspectives for treatment. Furthermore, it could lead to a better understanding of why some patients respond well to specific treatments such as topical capsaicin, whereas others do not. Finally, it may lead to the identification of specific patient profiles predicting response to treatment (Jensen and Finnerup 2014, Baron 2012). Such knowledge would be of high value for daily medical practice, as it would enable more individualized and effective pain treatment strategies.