Ephb receptors and persistent pain

Isabella Gavazzi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic pain syndromes remain a significant clinical challenge, primarily due to the lack of efficacy of current analgesics or to their undesirable side effects. New potential therapeutic targets may be identified through a better understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of central sensitisation - an activity-dependent increase in the efficacy of synapses of primary sensory afferents onto dorsal horn neurons that is thought to contribute to the onset and maintenance of many forms of chronic pain. EphB1 receptors (members of the largest family of receptor tyrosine kinases) and their transmembrane ligands, ephrinBs, have been shown to play an important role in the spinal processing of noxious stimuli. This chapter reviews the available evidence, supporting the hypothesis of a role for postsynaptic EphB1 receptors on dorsal horn neurons in the onset and maintenance of central sensitisation in inflammatory, neuropathic and cancer pain. Interestingly, further to their role in central sensitisation, EphB1 receptors have also been shown to be necessary in the development of morphine dependence and tolerance, phenomena that, at present, limit the usefulness of opioid analgesics. The double involvement of EphB1 receptors in central sensitisation and the development of morphine tolerance makes them attractive targets for the development of new analgesic drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAn Introduction to Pain and Nervous System Disorders
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781118455968
ISBN (Print)9781118455913
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2016


  • Central sensitisation
  • Chronic pain
  • Dorsal root ganglia
  • EphB1 receptor
  • EphrinB
  • NMDA receptors
  • Spinal cord
  • Synaptic plasticity


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