Publication Date



Anesthesia & Analgesia


One of the most prevalent symptoms after major surgery is pain. When postoperative pain treatment is unsatisfactory, it can lead to poor surgical recovery, decreased quality of life, and increased health care costs. Current analgesics, single or in combination, have limited efficacy due to low potency, limited duration of action, toxicities, and risk of addiction. The lack of nonaddictive strong analgesics along with the over prescription of opioids has led to an opioid epidemic in the United States. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the development of newer analgesics. Microribonucleic acids (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNA molecules that modulate protein synthesis in neurons and supporting cells (glia, leukocytes, and Schwann cells). The literature indicates that miRNA regulation is important in nociception. Here, we summarize the current evidence on the role of miRNAs on mechanisms involved in incisional, inflammatory, neuropathic, and cancer pain. We also discuss the role of modulating miRNA functions as potential therapeutic targets for analgesic use and opioid tolerance. Finally, we propose how the delivery of analog miRNAs (mimic-miRNAs or antago-miRNAs) could be introduced into clinical practice to provide analgesia in the perioperative period.


Acute Pain, Analgesia, Analgesics, Analgesics, Opioid, Animals, Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal, Cancer Pain, Drug Tolerance, Epigenesis, Genetic, Health Care Costs, Humans, Inflammation, MicroRNAs, Pain Management, Pain Measurement, Pain, Postoperative, Perioperative Period, Quality of Life, Spinal Cord



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