Pain is one of the most common features of sickle cell disease (SCD) lacking effective therapy. Pain in SCD is relatively more complicated than other conditions associated with pain requiring understanding of the pathobiology of pain specific to SCD. The characterization of pain to define the diverse modalities of nociception in SCD is currently under progress via human studies accompanied by transgenic mouse models of SCD. Sickle pathobiology characterized by oxidative stress, inflammation and vascular dysfunction contributes to both peripheral and central nociceptive sensitization via mast cell activation in the periphery, and reactive oxygen species and glial activation and endoplasmic reticulum stress in the spinal cord among other effectors. These effects are mediated via several cellular receptors, which can be targeted to produce positive therapeutic outcomes. In this chapter, we will discuss the present understanding of molecular mechanisms of SCD pain and outline the mechanism‐based translational potential of novel actionable targets to treat SCD pain.
Part of the book: Sickle Cell Disease