What does vascular endothelial growth factor have to do with pain?
Vascular endothelial growth factor is well known for its functions as a pro-angiogenic molecule, with importance in ophthalmic conditions (wet AMD and diabetic retinopathy) and solid tumour growth. VEGF is now known to consist of a large family of alternatively spliced variants, including angiogenic and anti-angiogenic forms. The physiology and pathological effects of VEGF appears to depend on the balance of isoforms, which is controlled by alternative mRNA splicing. VEGF is now also recognised as a neurotrophic molecule. Our work focuses on different VEGF isoform contributions to sensory neuronal damage, signalling and nociceptive processing, particularly in neuropathic pain. The talk will also cover aspects of alternative mRNA splicing control and the potential for development of alternative splicing inhibitors as novel analgesics.