Activation of members of the family of enzymes known as extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) is now known to be involved in the development and/or maintenance of the pain associated with many inflammatory conditions, such as herniated spinal disc pain, chronic inflammatory articular pain, and the pain associated with bladder inflammation. Moreover, ERKs are implicated in the development of neuropathic pain signs in animals which are subjected to the lumbar 5 spinal nerve ligation model and the chronic constriction injury model of neuropathic pain. The position has now been reached where all scientists working on pain subjects ought to be aware of the importance of ERKs, if only because certain of these enzymes are increasingly employed as experimental markers of nociceptive processing. Here, we introduce the reader, first, to the intracellular context in which these enzymes function. Thereafter, we consider the involvement of ERKs in mediating nociceptive signalling to the brain resulting from noxious stimuli at the periphery which will be interpreted by the brain as pain of peripheral origin.
- Intracellular signalling
ASJC Scopus subject areas