Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 377, Issue 1, pp 21–43 | Cite as

The molecular neurobiology of chronic pain–induced depression

  • Muris Humo
  • Han Lu
  • Ipek YalcinEmail author


The increasing number of individuals with comorbidities poses an urgent need to improve the management of patients with multiple co-existing diseases. Among these comorbidities, chronic pain and mood disorders, two long-lasting disabling conditions that significantly reduce the quality of life, could be cited first. The recent development of animal models accelerated the studies focusing on the underlying mechanisms of the chronic pain and depression/anxiety comorbidity. This review provides an overview of clinical and pre-clinical studies performed over the past two decades addressing the molecular aspects of the comorbid relationship of chronic pain and depression. We thus focused on the studies that investigated the molecular characteristics of the comorbid relationship between chronic pain and mood disorders, especially major depressive disorders, from the genetic and epigenetic point of view to key neuromodulators which have been shown to play an important role in this comorbidity.


Chronic pain Depression Molecular characteristics Behavior Neuropathic pain 


Funding information

This work was supported by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (contract UPR3212), the University of Strasbourg, the Neurex Doctorate fellow, NARSAD Young Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (24736), Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM FDT201805005527), French National Research Agency (ANR) through the Programme d’Investissement d’Avenir under the contract ANR-17-EURE-0022.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et Intégratives, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Université de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  2. 2.Faculty of Biology and Bernstein Center FreiburgUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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