The role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in modulating pain in males and females


  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is associated with the function of the descending pain modulatory system (DPMS) in female but not male participants, indicating that sex and neuroplasticity state may be crucial factors for pain perception in healthy individuals.

Why this matters

  • Currently, there is no consensus about the sex differences and measures of cortical excitability as well as the sex differences in the neuroplasticity mechanism involved in the physiology of pain in healthy human subjects.

  • Greater understanding of the relationship between the sexes, the efficiency of the descending inhibition system, corticospinal pathway excitability, and BDNF could improve future therapeutic approaches in chronic pain.

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