Indexed on: 10 Nov '13Published on: 10 Nov '13Published in: Der Nervenarzt
Voltage-gated sodium channels are essential for electrogenesis in excitable cells. The isoform Nav1.7 is primarily expressed in nociceptors. Mutations of the SCN9A gene, which codes for the α-subunit of Nav1.7, are the cause of primary erythromelalgia and paroxysmal extreme pain disorder, two rare neuropathic pain conditions. Recent studies have shown that mutations in the SCN9A gene are the cause of a subgroup of idiopathic small fiber neuropathies and that polymorphisms of SCN9A are associated with an increase in susceptibility to pain. These findings not only contribute to the understanding of the pathophysiology of neuropathic pain but also offer targets for a more specific pain therapy.